Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Orphans

ca. 1830
Watercolor, gum arabic, pen and black ink, lead white, and graphite on white wove paper
18 1/16 x 22 1/4 in. (45.9 x 56.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1966
Accession Number:
Not on view
In early-nineteenth-century America, bereaved families memorialized their deceased loved ones in highly personalized and intimate ways. Memorial embroideries and watercolors, which almost all date between about 1800 and 1840 and most frequently originated in New England, were very often done by young women, who learned this art form at school or in the seminary. The young artist of this image (perhaps depicted in self-portrait as the older child here) employed the most popular formula for such pictures, positioning the bereaved children beside an urn atop a large pedestal. The title inscribed below the pedestal reveals that these children mourn the death of their parents.
Inscription: [at bottom]: The Orphans; [see also inscription on tomb]
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