Sunday, February 20, 2011

Women Artists - American Miniaturists the Goodridge Sisters, Daniel Webster, Whigs, & the Daring Miniature

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Sarah Goodridge Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Self-Portrait c 1825
Miniaturist Sarah Goodridge (or sometimes Goodrich, 1788-1853) was born the 6th of 9 children near Templeton, Massachusetts in 1788. It is said that as a child, she came across a book on drawing & painting & taught herself to draw. Growing up on a farm, with little money to buy paper, she drew her earliest pictures on the sanded kitchen floor with a stick or on sheets of peeled birch bark with a pin. Sarah's younger sister Eliza Goodridge (1798-1882) may have found the same book, as she also painted miniatures.

Sarah Goodridge Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Self Portrait 1830
Sarah Goodridge taught school for several summers in Templeton & began making portraits in crayon & watercolor of friends for a fee. After the death of their father, Sarah moved to Boston in 1820, to live with her sister Eliza. There Sarah was able to expand her birch-bark, crayon, & watercolor techniques by taking a few lessons from a miniaturist, probably Elkanah Tisdale from Hartford, & by visiting portraitist Gilbert Stuart for advice. She soon began earning a living by painting miniature portraits. By 1830, Sarah Goodridge was a leading miniaturist in Boston, completing up to 3 portraits a week; supporting her sick mother & her orphaned niece; & maintianing a studio there. The Boston Athenaeum held 5 exhibitions of her work between 1827 & 1835. She never married, but she achieved a more prominent legacy in history than her sister Eliza, perhaps because of her superior artistic abilities or perhaps because of a gift she painted for an intimate, influential friend.

Sarah Goodridge Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Daniel Webster 1825
She developed an ongoing love relationship with Boston lawyer & politician Daniel Webster (1782-1852), who was married with 3 children, when she painted his 1st portrait. He sat for at least 12 more portraits over the next 25 years. Their friendship is documented in 44 letters, that Webster wrote to Goodridge between 1827 & 1851. She carefully preserved his letters to her; he destroyed her letters to him. His first wife, Grace, died in January, 1828.

Sarah Goodridge Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Beauty Revealed Inscribed 1828 & presented to Daniel Webster by the artist

After Webster’s 1st wife died, Goodridge painted for her intimate friend a daring miniature self-portrait of her bare breasts naming it Beauty Revealed. Webster may have been appreciative of her gift, but he was an ambitious man who needed significant amounts of capital to fuel his conservative political ambitions. He chose his new wife, Caroline LeRoy, from a wealthy & prominent family. They married in December, 1829. Sarah Goodrich, who rarely left Boston & Worcester, twice traveled to Washington, in 1828 & 1841, to visit her high visibility confidant Daniel Webster. As for the 1828 miniature Beauty Revealed, Webster kept it hidden among his personal effects until the day he died. Today it is on display for all the world to see in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Sarah Goodridge Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Self Portrait Painting a Miniature 1845
In 1850, due to failing eyesight, Sarah Goodridge retired to a house she bought in Reading, Massachusetts. Three years later she died of a stroke at the age of 65. In 1849, at the age of 51, Eliza Goodridge married Colonel Ephriam Stone, who owned a general store & sawmill in Templeton, Massachusetts. Eliza lived until 1882.

Sarah Goodridge Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Girl Called Persis, Child of Mrs Solomon Sargent
Sarah Goodridge Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Sarah Appleton with Cat

Sarah Goodrich (American miniaturist, 1788-1853) Sarah Goodrich Mrs Solomon Sargent (Fanny Osgood)
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Lydia Stiles Foster (1806-87) c 1838
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Mary Maccarty Stiles (1807-1872) c 1825
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Mary Stiles Newcomb (1807-1872) c 1840
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Rebecca Faulkner Foster (1761-1834) c 1830
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Julia Porter Dwight 1832
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Sophia Dwight Foster Burnside (1787-1871) c 1830
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Lydia Stiles (1806-1887) c. 1825
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Mary Maccarty Stiles (1775-1838) c 1825
Eliza Goodridge (American miniaturist, 1798-1882) Mary Maccarty Stiles (1807-72) c 1837.