Portrait of Emeline Bullard Brewer (Mrs. Squire Brewer)(1815-1876)
Origin: America, Massachusetts, Lee (probably)
Unframed: 34 5/8 x 28 7/16in. (87.9 x 72.2cm) and Framed: 37 x 30 11/16 x 2in.
Acc. No. 1973.100.3
A half-to-three-quarter-length portrait of a woman seated in a scrolled armchair, her body turned slightly towards the viewer's right. Her arms rest on the chair arms. She wears a lavender-gray dress, the bodice self-pleated in a V at the front above a self belt. Each sleeve displays a large puff between shoulder and elbow. A row of lace runs across the front of the neckline. A long scarf or shawl, a pale cream color with red edges, is draped casually over one shoulder and around her body. Her dark brown hair is parted in the center and piled atop her head in large curls. She has dark gray eyes. The background is vaguely defined with cloud-like forms of warm gray, the lightest centered behind her.
The 2-inch turned split baluster frame, painted red with black sponging, is original.
Label:This portrait and its three companions (acc. nos. 1973.100.2-4) are readily attributable to Erastus Salisbury Field on the basis of stylistic features, such as small dots and daubs of color to suggest skin hues and the modeling of facial features, slightly pointed ears, stubby fingers, and cloud-like backgrounds that are lightest directly behind the sitters. Circumstantial evidence further supports the attribution, for Field worked in the area where the subjects lived about 1835, when costume details indicate the pictures were painted.
Emeline Bullard was the daughter of Eleazer Bullard (1787-1858) and his first wife, Hannah Wilson Bullard (1789-1830). After Emeline's mother died, her father married, secondly, Emily Sheldon, and the family moved to Lee, Massachusetts, where Field executed his set of portraits. These depict Emeline; her husband, Squire Brewer; her father; and her step-mother.
Eleazer Bullard is believed to have commissioned the four paintings with the intention of hanging them together. Their original, sponge-painted, split baluster frames are identical. At the same time, an earlier portrait of Hannah, Eleazer's first wife (and Emeline's mother), painted by another artist (acc. no. 1973.100.5), was re-framed to match --- and presumably hang with --- the four by Field, creating an interesting, extended family grouping.
All five portraits descended together, which is unusual. That they remained together so long is partly attributable to several genealogical facts: Emeline was the only one of Eleazer's and Hannah's three children to survive to adulthood; Eleazer and Emily had no children; Emeline and Squire Brewer had only one child, Marretta; and of Marretta's seven children, only one son married.
Provenance:From the subject 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 (1913-1971); to his wife, Grace Ann Gregory Street (Mrs. Oscar Dickinson Street III)(b. 1944), who married, second, James Stagliano and was CWF's source.