This little painting is quite special. The mother, in a black dress with fancy lace collar and cap, is seated. One arm and the curve of her body envelop a small, intelligent-looking child at the bottom of the frame. The child’s attention is preoccupied by the small flower the mother is holding. Both flower and the mother’s wedding band gleam with finely applied gilt. In contrast to the subjects’ monochromatic dress, the interior of their house is a riot of color. The pair are not quite seated on a Grecian sofa. Outlined in dramatic shadow, the sofa’s classical curves and vermilion upholstery bespeak luxury. Starkly outlined against an apricot wall, the mirror’s smoky blue glass is framed in heavy gilt. The floor is boldly patterned, bringing to mind Dutch mother and child interior scenes with tiled floors in perspective. The composition draws the eye from the gilt frame and mother’s head down the sweeping curve of the arm to the child and gilt flower. An unexpected delight is the old book cover on which the portrait has been painted. The back shows marbled end paper and a remaining strip of book repair tape along one edge.
Lot 582 Small oil folk portrait, ca. 1835, of a mother and child in an interior with Grecian sofa and mirror in background, 7” x 5 ½”.
by: Cynthia Beech Lawrence