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Mother and Child in Mountain Landscape

1805-1825
Origin: America, Connecticut
Primary Support: 6 3/16 x 8 3/16in. (15.7 x 20.8cm) and Framed: 7 13/16 x 9 11/16in.
Watercolor, ink, and pencil on wove paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958.301.6
Woman & child loom large in central foreground. Woman turns slightly to (v's) r. & looks down toward child, places rear arm around child with hand on shoulder. Holds string of flowers (2 blue, 1 yellow) & foliage in other hand. Wears pale ochre washed dress w/ pencil lines indicating skirt folds & bodice ruffling, bright royal blue sash at waist, blue slippers, dress has short sleeves & scooped neck. Arms, neck & parts of face shaded w/gray wash, eye sockets delineated w/brown wash (see remarks). Hair gray wash w/delineation by fine ink strokes. Child wears bright lemon dress shaded w/darker yellow/brown wash short sleeves, high empire waistline, low square neck. Pinney describes head-on view of child's feet by showing them pointed straight down. Red slippers. Arms, neck, & face (including eye sockets) shaded w/gray wash. Hair gray wash w/fine ink stroke delineation. Child faces forward but turns head slightly toward woman, raises arm on (v"s) r. to abdomen level, other hangs at side. Foreground greenery depicted in smooth horizontal strokes of yellow overlaid w/green. Background bushes & tree leaves rendered in yellow and green dry brush dotting or "stippling" technique which is quite typical. On (v's) r. in middleground sits 3-story white house w/red roof surrounded by circle of white (actually gray-painted) picket fence. Tree trunk appears to fall within fence enclosure, although base of fence runs in front of it. Background mountains rendered in pale blue. Sky mostly unpainted, streaked with blue wash at top of sheet. At (v's) far l. gaily painted buildings w/raised flag appears atop mountain: blue ochre, red, white & blue/green used. Flag divided into four equal squares painted (clockwise from top inside) blue, red, white, red. Some sort of escarpment or crudely-rendered crenellation on fort (?) in red. Whole scene encompassed by black watercolor line painted about 3/16" inside edges of paper.
The 7/8-inch molded, gilded (or possibly silver-leafed) frame is a period replacement.
Label:No print source has been identified for this scene, and nothing is known regarding its meaning. Perhaps Pinney drew it as a gesture of affection, possibly as a gift for a daughter The piece incorporates many clear hallmarks of the artist's early nineteenth-century style. Characteristics include the delineation of hair by means of ink strokes over a watercolor wash; fine lines of accentuation both above and below the eye; wash shading of the eye socket; a relatively straight horizontal line for the mouth, with a second indenting the chin below; elongated, spidery fingers; a two-color, dry, stippled treatment of tree foliage; and demarcation of the compositional area by a black line. Another background house encircled by a white picket fence can be seen in Pinney's COUPLE IN A LANDSCAPE [Note 1].
Similar strings of flowers woven together appear in several of her mourning pictures, as well [Note 2].
Provenance:J. Stuart Halladay and Herrell George Thomas, Sheffield, Mass. Halladay died in 1951, leaving his interest in their jointly-owned collection to his partner, Thomas. Thomas died in 1957, leaving his estate to his sister, Mrs. Albert N. Petterson, who was AARFAC's vendor.