WILLIAM MATTHEW PRIOR (1806-1873)

Young Girl in a Pink Dress Holding a Rattle
New England, circa 1845
Oil on artist board, 16 x 12 inches, in period painted frame

This delightful likeness of a little girl wearing a pink dress and holding a rattle is one of the most charming portraits of its kind painted by William Matthew Prior. In this superior example, Prior demonstrates his proficiency in depicting childhood innocence, capturing the tender age when infants grow into toddlers. This portrait is executed in the artist’s “flat” style, with the young sitter’s rosy cheeks and bright eyes imparting a sense of warmth and friendliness. Her pink dress is complimented by adorable little pink bows lovingly secured in her tufts of baby hair. The delicateness of her beaded necklace is perfectly offset by the decorated rattle.

Provenance:
Collection of Dr. Abigail Housen (1926–2020) and Dr. Harry M. Lasker, Cambridge and West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

Exhibited:
“American Folk Art,” Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2001.

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