SOLD! for $42,000.00.
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- Low Estimate: $12,000.00
- High Estimate: $14,000.00
- Realized: $42,000.00
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Pair of Tennessee portraits by Ralph Eleaser Whiteside Earl (1788-1838), unsigned, oil on canvas, depicting Thomas Claiborne Jr. (b. Petersburg, Virginia, 1780- d. Nashville, Tennessee ,1856) in white linen shirt with tie, waistcoat and brass buttoned coat and a woman, likely his wife Sarah Lewis King Claiborne (1786-1867); in lace bonnet with yellow and purple ribbon and emerald green dress. Both housed in original matching 19th century gilt wood and composition slope-molding frames with corner leaf and scroll decoration, European, one with original framer’s label verso. Both portraits measure: Sight – 29 1/2″ H x 24 1/2″ W. Framed – 42″ H x 37″ W. Circa 1825. Provenance: Descended in the Claiborne Family through Henry (Harry) Laurens Claiborne; sold to dealer Charles Elder of Nashville, Tennessee; sold to Dr. Benjamin Caldwell circa 1960s; acquired from the Caldwell auction in 2006 by a Maryville, TN collector. These portraits were exhibited at the Tennessee State Museum’s Exhibit, “Portrait Painting in Tennessee,” in 1988 and are illustrated and discussed in the catalog of the same name (ref. The Tennessee Historical Quarterly, winter 1987, p. 210). They have also been exhibited at Cheekwood Fine Arts Center in Nashville (dates unknown). Note: Thomas A. Claiborne served as a major on Andrew Jackson’s staff during the Creek War and in the Tennessee House of Representatives for two terms, 1811-1815 and 1831-1833. He became a U.S. Representative to Congress for Tennessee 1817-1819. Claiborne was also a Mason, and served as Grand Master of Tennessee from 1813-1814. Biography (Courtesy of James C. Kelly, Virginia Historical Society, Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 1998): Ralph E. W. Earl was the son of Connecticut painter Ralph Earl (1751-1801). Earl studied under his father in Northhampton, Massachusetts, before traveling to London in 1809 to study under Benjamin West and John Trumbull. In 1817, Earl arrived in Nashville to paint General Andrew Jackson, the hero of the battle of New Orleans. Later that year, in Natchez, he met and married Jane Caffrey, Rachel Jackson’s niece. She died the next year, but Earl moved into the Hermitage and would from then on remain in Jackson’s circle, accompanying the newly elected president to Washington. During the next eight years, Earl turned out numerous paintings of Jackson. Politicians, especially Democrats, knew it “did not hurt to order a portrait of General Jackson from Earl.” He painted many of Jacksonís friends and a few of his foes. Earl returned to the Hermitage with Jackson in 1837 and died there in September 1838. CONDITION: 1st item (Mr. Claiborne): Relined. Overall craquelure. Heavy varnish. Areas of inpainting on face and blouse and some minor scattered inpainting in background. Frame: Top left corner area reinforced and top right corner molding repaired and reglued. 2nd item (Mrs. Claiborne): Relined. Overall craquelure. Heavy varnish. Areas of inpainting on face and background. Area of repainting in green dress at base of image, approximately 4″ x 1″ then 2″ x 10″. Frame: Losses to corners lower left, lower right (1″ x 2″) and upper right.