Ambrose Andrews (American, Stockbridge, Massachusetts 1801–1877 Palmyra, New York)
Oil on canvas
28 3/8 x 36 1/2 in. (72.1 x 92.7 cm)
Gift of Nina Howell Starr, in memory of Nathan Comfort Starr (1896–1981), 1987
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 757
When Andrews, an itinerant portraitist, painted the children of Nathan Starr in Middletown, Connecticut, he went beyond the traditional “conversation piece” format to offer an intimate view of the family playing an early form of badminton called “battledore and shuttlecock” in a Greek Revival parlor, whose open doors reveal a sweeping view of the Connecticut River. In what appears to be a private narrative, the youngest child in the picture, Edward, holds a hoop in his right hand and a gaming stick in his left, pointed heavenward; his death in 1835 may have been the occasion for the group portrait.
Inscription: [on the back at lower left]: Emily Helen Starr Aged 15yrs / Grace Ann " " [Aged] 12 " [yrs] / Frederick Barnard " " [Aged 6 " [yrs] / Edward Pomeroy " " [Aged] 3 " [yrs].
descendants of Nathan Starr; Hartford, Connecticut, art market, on consignment, 1935; Nathan Comfort Starr, Williamstown, Massachusetts, Gainesville, Florida, and New York, 1935–1981; his wife, Nina Howell Starr, New York, 1981–1987