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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Culture:American
Title:silhouette: Ruth Dickinson Sanderson
Date Made:1830
Type:Silhouette
Materials:paper, ink, watercolors; pencil; crayon; glass; wood; gilding
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Whately
Measurements:Frame: 16 1/4 in x 11 1/2 in; 41.3 cm x 29.2 cm; Sight: 14 1/4 in x 9 1/2 in; 36.2 cm x 24.1 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2017.37
Credit Line:Hall and Kate Peterson Fund for Paintings, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
2017-37t.jpg

Description:
Large memorial silhouette of Ruth Dickinson Sanderson (born April 20, 1829 - died August 12, 1830) of Whately, Massachusetts, Ruth was the daughter of Asa Sanderson and Naomi Dickinson, both of Whately; Ruth and her parents' families are listed in James Craft's "History of the Town of Whately" (1899), life-size hollow-cut bust-length silhouette with ink and watercolor details on paper, 14 ½ x 9 ¾ inches, sight. Cut serrated edges to the chest and back of the silhouette, brown crayon, watercolor, and pencil define the hair and curls on the child's head; inscribed below with name, date of death, "Ruth Dickinson/ Sanderson Died Aug. 12/ 1830" and a poetic passage of remembrance beneath the phrase “sweet child.” The inscription is as follows: "Sweet Babe!/ She glanc'd into our world to see/ A sample of our misery,/ Then turn'd away her languid eye,/ To drop a tear or two, and die -/ Sweet Babe!/ She tasted of life's bitter cup,/Refus'd to drink the portion up,/ But turn'd her little head aside,/ Disgusted with the taste and died./ Sweet Babe!/ She listen'd for a while to hear/ Our mortal griefs, then turn'd her ear/ To Angels' harps and songs, and cried/ To join their notes celestial sighed and died - / Sweet Babe!/ Sweet Babe no more but seraph now;/ Before the throne behold her bow;/ Her soul enlarg'd to Angel size, / Adores the grace that brought her there." This poem called "Sweet Babe" was written by Allan Cunningham (1784-1842). Condition: Under glass and not examined out of frame. Toned as visible in the photo, with several spots of foxing and acid burn. Moisture damage along lower edge extending into second to last line of verse, with losses to the paper. Horizontal crease through center of light sheet of paper and a diagonal crease at the lower right extending from the tip of the silhouette to outer edge of paper, with subtle ripples in lower right.

Label Text:
This large silhouette memorializes Ruth Dickinson Sanderson (born April 20, 1829 - died August 12, 1830) of Whately, Massachusetts. Her parents, Asa Sanderson and Naomi Dickinson, had it made for their beloved one-year-old daughter. In addition to capturing Ruth’s likeness, the poem Sweet Babe written by Allan Cunningham (1784-1842) is inscribed below it. The poem of remembrance reads: "Sweet Babe!/ She glanc'd into our world to see/ A sample of our misery,/ Then turn'd away her languid eye,/ To drop a tear or two, and die -/ Sweet Babe!/ She tasted of life's bitter cup,/Refus'd to drink the portion up,/ But turn'd her little head aside,/ Disgusted with the taste and died./ Sweet Babe!/ She listen'd for a while to hear/ Our mortal griefs, then turn'd her ear/ To Angels' harps and songs, and cried/ To join their notes celestial sighed and died - / Sweet Babe!/ Sweet Babe no more but seraph now;/ Before the throne behold her bow;/ Her soul enlarg'd to Angel size, / Adores the grace that brought her there."

Tags:
portraits; deaths; mourning; poetry

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+2017.37

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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