Sat, Oct 6, 2018 10:00AM EDT
Edwin F. Goddard (American, Kentucky, ca 1815-1855). A rare signed pair of small oil portraits on wood panel, 1840-41, depicting Henry James Osborne and his wife Susan Garret Osborne. Each with ink inscription on the reverse: Henry James Osborne / Born 19th Nov. 1820 / Taken by E. F. Goddard Art. / 19th Nov. 1840 / Born in Coosawattee S. C. and Susan Garret Osborne / Born 7th February 1824 / Taken by E. F. Goddard Art. / 24 Sept. 1841 / Born in Georgetown Ky; 4.5 x 3.75 in. (each panel), lacking frames.
Henry James Osborne (1820-1821) was born in in Coosawattee, SC, but was in Kentucky by 1840, working in the mercantile business. He married Susan Garrett Prentiss (1824-1889), a native of Georgetown, KY. They soon moved to Georgia, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Henry was the agent for the Stoddard Shingle Making machine, for which he won a silver premium at the Louisville Mechanics Fair in 1855. As an agrarian merchant, he was part of the ongoing trade between Kentucky and the Deep South, supplying manufactured goods. They lost a son fighting for the CSA in the Civil War.
These tiny gems display a warm coloring evidenced in the sunset glow and the sitters' ruddy cheeks, an important element of the Romantic style of portraiture in the South during the mid 19th century, and a trademark of Goddard. Their small size and well documented provenance make them exceptional examples of Bluegrass portraiture.
Born in Massachusetts, Goddard arrived in Kentucky in 1839, working first in Madison and Scott Counties. He eventually was active in Bourbon County, ca 1847, until his death. According to his obituary (from the September 7, 1855 Western Citizen) he was "a man of rare genius and master of his profession as a portrait painter."
Pennington, Estill Curtis. Lessons in Likeness: Portrait Painters in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1802-1920, Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2011.
This catalog entry was written by Estill Curtis Pennington, of Paris, Kentucky. Pennington is the author of Lessons in Likeness: the portrait painter in Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley, 1800-1920, and is currently compiling a catalog raisonné of the works of Matthew Harris Jouett.