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Portrait of Sally Vreeland

ca. 1815
Origin: America, Probably New Jersey
Primary support: 8 7/8 x 7in. (22.5 x 17.8cm) and Framed: 9 7/8 x 8 1/16in.
Watercolor on wove paper
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1958.300.19
A three-quarter-length portrait of a young girl shown standing above an inscribed lower margin. Her body is turned slightly towards the viewer's right. The girl's proper left arm hangs loosely at her side, her proper right hand grasps a rose spray and raises it chest-high. She wears a white, short-sleeved dress with a high waistline and a low, square-cut neckline. She also wears a choker of red beads. Her pale, gray-ish brown hair is curly and cut very close to her head. Behind her is a clouded sky.

The 7/8-inch, molded, black-painted frame is original.
Label:This simple likeness is one of twelve recorded subjects attributed to an artist whose last name is believed to have been Thompson. (See "Notes.") Painted between 1814 and 1819, the group of portraits depicts members of the Vreeland, Raub, Ackerman, Berry, Bogert, Brinkerhoff, and Outwater families. Numerous links between the families occur in marriage and estate records and tie nine of the recorded portraits to the communities of Schraalenburgh, Polifly, and other Dutch settlements in the area that now encompasses Hackensack in Bergen County, New Jersey.

Characteristics of the unidentified artist's style are the inscription panels appearing below the images, the striped block letters in the inscriptions, and the format of the texts themselves, which, in most examples, give enough information to calculate the year when the portraits were executed. The artist's palette is quite pale, and his figures have sloping shoulders, clawlike hands, and puckered lips. Several types of chairs and floor coverings are depicted in his full-length and three-quarter-length portraits of standing and seated subjects. He used a cloudlike background for three subjects, and swagged drapery appears in the background of one.
Provenance:J. Stuart Halladay and Herrel 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 AARFAM's vendor.


Mark(s):A watermark in the primary support reads "T G & Co" and stands for Thomas Gilpin, who operated a paper mill with his brother Joshua on the Brandywine River two miles above Wilmington, Delaware, between 1787 and 1838. See Weeks ("Bibliography") pp. 92, 157, and 175. Per Thomas L. Gravell to AARFAM, September 18, 1978, Thomas's initials were used in the mill's watermarks only after 1800.
Also see "Inscriptions."
Inscription(s):Printed in block letters in watercolor in the margin below the portrait is "SALLY VREELAND". Printed below this in watercolor is, "Aged 3 years 7 months." Also see "Marks."