Southern folk art oil on canvas portrait of a mature female seated in a caned chair, holding a book and attired in a dark dress with wide lace collar and bonnet with lace trim.(One bow of bonnet unfinished). Housed in a carved wooden berry and leaf carved gilt frame. Unsigned. Sight – 28 1/2" H x 23 1/4" W. Framed – 34 5/8" H x 29 5/8" W. 2nd quarter 19th century. Provenance: Private Mississippi Collection. Family history states that the sitter is Martha Mecklin Ward, originally from South Carolina. She was the mother of Benjamin F. Ward, a Confederate brigade surgeon under General Joseph R. Davis. Mrs. Ward moved to Mississippi from South Carolina with her infant son Benjamin after the death of her husband William F. Ward around 1846. The painting has descended through the family to the present. Condition: Canvas has been laid down on board, slight bubbling evident. Some slight losses to corners of frame, possible inpainting.
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