Portrait of Lucy Vickery (1824-1837)
Origin: America, New Hampshire, Dover
Primary support: 8 15/16" x 6 7/8" and Framed: 10 3/8" x 8 7/16" x 3/4"
Watercolor and pencil on wove paper. The frame is original, a 1 1/8-inch, black-painted, splayed molding with a flat inner lip.
Gift of the family of Martha Ellen Vickery Eden (1876-1973)
Acc. No. 1993.300.3
A full-length portrait of a young girl standing and facing right. She wears a light, bright blue dress with matching pantaloons and a large white collar, a white embroidered apron, a long strand of beads, black slippers, and a striped blue ribbon for a browband. Her long dark hair curls up at the back of her neck. In her near hand she carries a patterned orange purse that has some yellow details, and her far hand is extended slightly upwards bearing an open book. She stands on a floor (or cloth or carpet) patterned in black-borded rectangles of orange, blue, and yellow designs. On the floor in front of her is a rose bush in a pot. A lower margin reserve is left blank.
Label:Lucy Vickery's portrait typifies the colorful work of Joseph H. Davis, an artist well-known for his profiles of clients who lived on either side of the Maine-New Hampshire border. Davis's lower margin reserves usually bear his subjects' names (and, sometimes, his subjects' ages, as well as the portraits' places and dates of execution). Why Lucy's portrait was left uninscribed is unknown.
Although Lucy's portrait descended, and was donated, with similar images of her elder brother and his future wife, it is possible that Lucy was not painted in Dover, as they were, but in Wakefield, where her parents were known to be living in 1834. Lucy died June June 20, 1837, less than a month after the May 31, 1837, marriage between her brother John and Mary Ann Cook.
Provenance:The portrait was donated along with 1993.300.2 and 1993.300.4 (portraits of the subject's brother and sister-in-law, respectively). It is unclear whether the three watercolors have always been together or, conversely, joined company early in the line of descent. The donor believes they descended from the subject to his son, William Henry Vickery (b. Feb. 16, 1839; d. Mar. 13, 1916); to his daughter, Martha Ellen Vickery (b. July 4, 1876; d. Nov. 1974); to her daughter, Natalie Eden Walter (Mrs. Donald Wesley Walter)(b.May 22, 1920); to her daughter, Mary Walter Henkel (Mrs. Dennis Henkel).
Inscription(s):No original markings, including watermarks, were found. In pencil in a script that appears to be late 19th c. or early 20th c. on the outer side of the backboard is "Lucy Vickery./1834--Dover, N. H./Born 1824." In ink in modern script on the modern brown paper dust cover is "Lucy Vickery/(younger sister/of John)/Born 1824/Picture painted/ 1834".