Emma Thompson

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Sturtevant J.

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Sturtevant J. Hamblen was born into a family of decorative painters in Maine. Three of his brothers listed themselves in business directories as ‘House, sign and fancy painters’ but Sturtevant instead identified himself as a painter of portraits. On the reverse of this picture, he has noted in pencil the name of the sitter and her parents.

Hamblen was also the young brother-in-law of fellow itinerant artist, William Matthew Prior (1806-1873). For a while, Hamblen lived with the Priors, painting alongside Matthew. For many years, this (unsigned) portrait was erroneously attributed to the more prolific Prior.
By 1856, Hamblen had become embittered with life as a jobbing portraitist and opted for a steadier (if more sedate) career in gentlemen’s clothing.

'Once the old varnish had been carefully removed, you could see not only the subtleties of colour shaping the face but also the calligraphic quality of the brushstrokes defining her features. The sad-looking little girl suddenly blossomed into an American ‘princess.’' Valentine Gould, furniture and paintings conservator

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From 1845 (circa) to 1855 (circa)


childhood, ,

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» oil paint (paint)
» canvas


» painting (image-making)

Production place

» New England


» Folk Art Collection



Object number


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