This sublime watercolor family portrait has got to be the very first 'photo bomb', with Dad seeming to jump in while his wife and daughter sit posing for the artist - it made me laugh as soon as I saw it. A happy painting all around.
Portraits from this period were not always so appealing; they were painted as a record, much as we would use a formal posed photograph today, and not every sitter was as attractive as the members of the family pictured here. Mother and daughter bear a distinct resemblance to each other, blue eyes and long aquiline noses, their hair is similarly done in the curls of the day, and they're smiling, so is Dad. Portraits of the time ( 1840's - 18 50's ) were often somber affairs with dour expressions, life was difficult and people showed the ravages of age sooner. But this beautiful family seems happy, and Dad's popping in adds a touch of humor, it almost looks candid. All are dressed in their Sunday best, modest jewelry on the ladies, and Dad holds what looks like a small book in his hand (that's not the remote - lol) showing he was a man of some affluence and learning. Rendered with great skill and delicacy.
CONDITION is lovely, the colors are generally warm and muted, but the eyes and tiny flower on the girls bodice are still bright blue. Lightly underlaid with graphite, then painted with watercolors and possibly ink. There is a small spattering of black original to the piece, mostly around the mother and daughter's hands. Unsigned, although I have not had the frame open. The antique glass has a few small bubbles. Measures 14 1/4" x 12 3/16" overall, with a sight size of 9 5/8" x 7 5/8". The beautiful period mahogany frame is likely original and has its original decorative gold filet along with a few dings, it is 1 7/8" deep with the painting-mount adding an additional 5/16 inch in overall depth.
While we may never know his or her name, this skillful artist captured the delightful charm of this family that still moves us 170 or so years later. Enjoy!