Pastel portrait on paper of a young boy whittling who may be Henry Perkins (1781-1850) or George Perkins (1783-1852), which is attributed to their sister Sarah Perkins (1771-1831), a pastel portrait artist working in the New Haven and Plainfield, Connecticut, area who is known as the Beardsley Limner. The data file has a label from the Connecticut Historical Society exhibition, "Connecticut Pastels," held in Hartford in 1959, which is typed "ELISHA PERKINS, JR. (1763-1840) / Artist: SARAH PERKINS / Lent by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Armistead Coit" and has written on the back "George Perkins / 1783 / identified as the younger brother of Elisha / No." According to notes in the file, this portrait was purchased from Skinner's Boston on Feb. 27, 1981, lot 360 (probably) and "Do not dispose of this picture as it should reach five figures someday. She (Perkins) did not do that many & this is one of her 1st, probably the 1st. so it is good for comparison with later works." There was also a typed note, "360 PASTEL PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY, turned one quarter left, long brown hair, wide white collar, brown double brested jacket, holding a slate in left hand and slate pencil in right, together with handwritten note reading 'Elisha Perkins Jr. 1763-1840, Painted by Sarah Perkins' (water stains). size: 18 1/2 x 15 1/4 inches, American, circa 1770." and handwritten, "This is not the latest info see Antiques." This portrait is part of the group that included Sarah'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. Historic Deerfield also owns a portrait of Sarah's grandfather, Dr. Joseph Perkins (HD 1367.1) and one of perhaps her older sister, Mary Perkins Merwin (1765-1793) (HD 1367.2), which descended with her grandfather's portrait (indicating a family relationship). 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, George, 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. According to Heslip and Kellogg, this portrait suggests that Sarah Perkins was familiar with and influenced by the work of Abraham Delanoy (1742-1795) who advertised himself in New Haven as a portrait painter between 1784 and 1787.
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