Life in Old South Central Alabama

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South of Birmingham, Alabama, United States
I am an antique trader in central Alabama....I love old houses... My log home was built in 1817 by my ancestors Benjamin and Hannah Harless Wilson .............. Outside the house are herb gardens and lots of pass-along plants................ No one in Alabama is in a hurry about anything......... Visitors think that the garden needs weeding and the furniture needs polishing....I am a direct descendant of Joseph Towne, whose two sisters Rebecca Towne Nurse and Mary Towne Easty were hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692 as witches. I am also a direct descendant of Pocahontas and husband John Rolfe.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Oil Portrait: Lady with a Red Shawl; plus Little Boy's frame repair and Young Man with a Smile

My latest arrival is an oil on canvas oval portrait of a young lady wearing a white dress accented by a red shawl. 

She was purchased without a frame, which is a difficult thing to do as oval paintings are not so easy to find a frame that fits. 

I thought she looked so unusual with her hair parted and her slight smile that I wasn't concerned about a frame.  

I had bought a large frame from an auction in Connecticut that was housing a very heavy mirror. No one bid on it but myself.   I had no intention of paying to have the mirror and frame shipped to Alabama from Connecticut.   I bid with the idea of telling the shipping company to discard the mirror part and ship me the frame only.  I could tell that the frame was originally intended for a portrait.  So when I won, I did just that.  "Send me the frame only."

I had put the frame away in an upstairs closet.  I thought that one day I might luck up and find a portrait the right size.  

I waited for two weeks hoping that she would slip through the auction without a lot of bids against mine. For some reason, she slipped through without much notice.  I won. 

Her crimson shawl is as bright as the day she wore it in the 1850's. 

Now, do not confuse genius with luck.  When she arrived, she sat in the log room of the house leaning against a dough box for three days.  Then the thought occurred to me....how close in size was she to that Connecticut frame I had upstairs? 



Well,  the answer is in the pictures.  She fit exactly.  What is the cliche?  "Made for each other."   "A perfect match."


Remember the little boy whose frame lost three out of four gesso embellishments? 

I have managed to piece most of the parts back together.  I can create the missing leaves with Apoxie Sculpt.

With a little gold touch up he will be just fine. 

Meanwhile, in the library, my Yankee boy seems right at home in his frame from Selma, Alabama. 


All of those gold things under his portrait are the tops of girandoles, my latest obsession. 

His frame had a mirror in it also when I bought it.  Selma lost a lot of family portraits when the Yankees occupied the town in April of 1865 and burned 150 houses.  Houses that weren't burned were looted and family portraits were slashed.  So mirrors replaced the portraits.  

He really does have rosy cheeks and a slight smile.  I put a ridiculous price on him in my antique booth and when no one bought him in a week, I brought him home. Three people since then have agreed to pay my price, but I said, " Too late; you had your chance."