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Maker(s):Perkins, Sarah
Culture:American (1771-1831)
Title:portrait: Perkins Woman
Date Made:1787-1788
Materials:pastel crayon, paper, canvas
Place Made:United States; Connecticut; Plainfield
Measurements:framed: 20 1/2 x 17 1/2 in.; 52.07 x 44.45 cm
Accession Number:  HD 1367.2
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Pastel portrait on paper of a young woman wearing a large white mob cap, white fischu, and pink flowered dress on a tan background, which is thought to be possibly Mary Perkins Mervin (1765-1793), the older sister of Sarah Perkins (1771-1831), a pastel portrait artist working in the New Haven and Plainfield, Connecticut, area who is known as the Beardsley Limner. It has also been suggested that this may be a self portrait of Sarah Perkins. In 1786, Mary Perkins married Miles Marvin (c.1761-1793) who was the Preceptor of Plainfield Academy from 1784-1786 while he completed his law studies. The family moved to Philadelphia where the whole family died during a yellow fever epidemic in 1793. This Jospeh Perkins portrait descended with a portrait of Dr. Joseph Perkins (1704-1794) (HD 1367.1). The portrait is part of the group that included Sarah Perkins's grandmother, Mary Bushnell Perkins (1707-1795) (HD 2010.16), her father Dr. Elisha Perkins (1741-1799) and his wife Mrs. Elisha (Sarah Douglas) Perkins (1744-1795), and Sarah's brother Elisha Perkins, Jr. (1763-1840), all of which were published in "Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin" (October, 1959) and were owned at that time by Charles Armistead Coit, a Perkins family descendent. HD also ownes Sarah Perkins's "Little Boy Whittling" (HD 2000.2). Most of Sarah Perkins's portraits are dated in the 1790s. This may be explained by her mother's death in 1795 when Sarah Perkins, the fourth of ten children, took charge of the household, which included four younger siblings - Elizabeth (b.1778), Henry Perkins (1781-1850), George Perkins (1783-1852), and Olive (b. 1789). Her father died in 1799, and in 1801, Sarah married General Lemuel Grovesnor (1752-1833), a widower with five children, and they had four more children.


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