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Portrait of Hannah Wilson Bullard (Mrs. Eleazer Bullard)(1789-1830)

ca. 1815
Origin: America, Massachusetts or Connecticut
Unframed: 28 x 25in. (71.1 x 63.5cm) and Framed: 30 1/2 x 27 3/4in.
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1973.100.5
A half-length portrait of a young woman seated in a bow-back Windsor side chair, her arms folded over one another in her lap. She is turned slightly towards the viewer's left, her eyes to the viewer. She wears a dark green, long-sleeved, low-necked, empire-waisted dress with a sheer white fabric filling in the neckline and forming a large ruffle about her neck. She wears a rectangular-shaped black, gold cased brooch at her throat. She also wears a hoop-shaped earring of gold beads and, in her brown hair, a tortoiseshell comb. Tendrils of hair frame her face. She has blue eyes. The background is a plain, streaky warm brown, darker at the bottom.

The 2-inch turned split baluster frame, painted red with black sponging, is a replacement of ca. 1835.
Label:Samuel Broadbent was born in London, but no other information has been documented regarding his life prior to ___ 1797, when he advertised "drugs & medicines" in a Sag Harbor, New York, newspaper [n. 1.]. By 8 June 1798, he was in Wethersfield, Connecticut, offering his services in the practice of physic, surgery, and midwifery [n. 2]. No advertisements for his portrait painting have been found, but he took up the practice at least as early as 1808. About thirty likenesses done in oils, watercolors, and pastels are signed by or attributed to him. In a local manuscript record book, an unidentified writer named "dropsy and high living" as causing the demise of this "foreigner from England."

On September 20, 1812, Hannah Wilson of Berlin, Connecticut, became the first wife of Eleazer Bullard (1787-1858) of New Marlborough, Massachusetts, where the couple lived afterwards. It cannot be determined whether Hannah was painted before or after her marriage, but the proximity of Berlin to Wethersfield and the lack of a known Broadbent portrait of Eleazer suggest that it was before.

The Bullards had three children before Hannah died at the age of forty-one. Eleazer then married Emily Sheldon (1798-1849) and moved to Lee, Massachusetts, where, about 1835, he commissioned four new family portraits from Erastus Salisbury Field. These, also owned by the Folk Art Museum, depict Eleazer and Emily Sheldon Bullard and Squire and Emeline Bullard Brewer, the last couple being Eleazer's son-in-law and daughter by his first wife, Hannah.

Hannah's portrait evidently retained its honored status long after its subject's death, for not only was it kept with the newer, expanded family grouping by Field. It also was placed in a fashionable, split baluster, sponge-painted frame to match those on the later-painted foursome.

n. 1: Frothingham's _L. I. Herald_,
n. 2: _Connecticut Courant_, 8 June 1798, Hartford, Conn.
Provenance:The portrait is believed to have descended from the subject to her husband, Eleazer Bullard (1787-1858); to his daughter, Emeline Bullard Brewer (Mrs. Squire Brewer)(1798-1849); to her daughter, Marretta Brewer Street (Mrs. Oscar Dickinson Street); to her son, Oscar Dickinson Street II (1877-?); to his son, Oscar Dickinson Street III (1913-?); to his wife, Grace Ann Gregory Street (Mrs. Oscar Dickinson Street III)(b. 1944), who married, second, James Stagliano and was CWF's source.

This portrait joined four other family likenesses painted about 1835 (see 1973.100.1-4), and the five are believed to have descended together after that.