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Maker(s):unknown
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
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
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).

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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