Young Girl with Lamb in Landscape

Probably Connecticut, circa 1820-1830
Watercolor and gold foil on paper, 11 ¾ x 15 inches, in original gilt frame with floral molded corner applications.

This scene of a girl wearing a blue dress with a lamb is one of the more elegant and sophisticated examples of a schoolgirl watercolor. Possibly a self-portrait of the artist outside her family home with her beloved pet, the picture is carefully rendered in exquisite detail. The garland worn by the lamb is echoed by the garland of roses that encompass the interior scene and it is evident that the handsome gold leaf frame, original to the piece, was thoughtfully chosen.  This work was likely completed by a student at a female academy in the early 19th century. While many students chose to replicate romantic or patriotic scenes from print sources, this artist created a touching, original work inspired by her own life’s joys. The central octagonal vignette recalls a particular shape found in schoolgirl watercolor decorated paperboard boxes which often also utilize gold foil paper as borders, examples of which is illustrated in Robert Shaw and Jane Katcher, The Instruction of Young Ladies, Arts from Private Girls’ Schools and Academies in America (Cooperstown, NY, 2016), nos. 33-34.

Collection of Vincent and Betty Thornburg, Wethersfield, CT; Stephen Score, Essex, MA; Collection of Daphne Farago, Providence, RI; “American Folk Art and Furniture, formerly in the Collection of Daphne Farago, sold for the benefit of the Rhode Island School of Design,” Sotheby’s. New York, February 2, 1991, lot 1225; Private collection; David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, Woodbury, CT.

“Four Rhode Island Collectors of American Folk Art: Eliza Greene Metcalf Radeke, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, Maxim Karolik, and Daphne Farago,” Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 1985.

Christopher P. Monkhouse and Carol C. Sanderson, Americana from the Daphne Farago Collection (Providence, 1985), pg. 84, pl. 91. 
David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, Parallel Visions: Shaker Design and American Folk Art (Woodbury, CT., 2022), no. 25.

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