Painting Stature and Youthful Beauty
anging these very different portraits together tells us something about how the artist, or the sitter, or the person commissioning the work chose to be portrayed in a painting. We can see the difference in the style of formal portraiture intended to convey position and stature, and the more casual depictions of a loved one.
Mary (Polly) Esther St. John Lockwood 9 was Colonel Buckingham Lockwood’s wife. It is meant to be a companion piece to his portrait 2. Perhaps they hung side by side, in a formal room. Notice the attention the artist paid to their clothing, especially the neckwear and the jewelry. They are not smiling; they look as if their elevated place in the world is evident. Her brother William St. John 10, was painted when he was an engaging young man.
The fourth image here is LeGrand Smith 12, the son of Judge Steven and Polly Betts Smith. He died in the 1856 explosion of the Steamship Pacific, and is buried in the graveyard at St. Paul’s on the Green.
Hamilton Hamilton (yes, that was his name) depicts his young fiancée or wife with her dog adoringly at her feet, in a beautiful setting, with the ocean and a cloud filled sky 11 behind her. This romantic painting depicts a very sweet innocent woman.
The same can be said of the pastel portrait of a 4 year-old Manice deForest Lockwood III 13, who looks directly at us. His face is framed by a fresh white collar over a bright yellow shirt. It was traditional at the time not to cut young men’s hair, especially if they had such lovely curls.