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"Vase of Roses"

ca. 1854
Origin: America, probably Louisville, Kentucky
Primary Support: 20 1/2 x 16in. (52.1 x 40.6cm) and Framed: 21 3/4 x 17 3/4in.
Watercolor, pencil and ink on wove paper
Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Acc. No. 1935.303.3
Contemporary gilded frame. Still-life watercolor of three pink roses, white roses, four pink rosebuds and some small blue and white flowers. Arranged in a white fluted vase, urn-shaped, on a rectangular base. Done with stencils, composition is pyramidal in design.
Label:H. Millet is likely Harriet Millet, the daughter of John and Mary Millet of Jefferson County, Kentucky. To produce the subdued hue of the roses, Harriet watered down the painted petals before the color dried and used a soft cloth to wipe out the lighter areas. This method is discussed in several instruction books.

This theorem was likely completed at the Cedar Grove Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. Formally known as St. Michael’s Academy, the school was popularly known as Cedar Grove after the numerous evergreens lining the property. Started as a boarding school for young ladies in 1842, Cedar Grove Academy was one of the first Catholic schools in the southern backcountry. Both Harriet’s father and grandfather had come to America from France in the 1830s, and both were early members of the Catholic Church in this region.
Provenance:Curiosity Shop, Louisville, Ky.; Holger Cahill; Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; Given to C. W. by Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Mark(s):Handwritten in ink to the left of the vase is "H. Millet" and to the right, "Cedar Grove Academy." The primary support has the watermark "J. Whatman/Turkey Mill/1849" for the Maidstone, Kent, England, firm operated by the Hollingworth brothers between 1806 and 1859. A blind stamp in the upper left corner shows two griffins supporting a shield and crown with the words: "ABRADED SURFACE" and "DRAWING BOARDS."