Portraits of a Father, Mother and Baby Boy, oil on canvas, probably from the mid 1800’s.. The portraits were cut out of the original paintings and remounted on another canvas. The remount appears to have been done by a professional restorer. The original paintings are 15 inch ovals which reflect appropriate age, mounted on an 18 inch new canvas. The portraits are very well done as you look at the mother’s lace collar, jewelry and the green ribbon streaming from her hair; the baby dress is shaded to give it folds and definition and the father’s face is very expressive.
Before photography, portrait painting was the only means of capturing images of family members. Only the wealthiest members of society could afford a professional portrait. When a painter did not have a commission he would knock on doors and solicit work. Most of the leading early American portrait artists were trained in Europe.
Boys wore dresses until they were able to hook and unhook knickers (pants) and usually the face of the boys was given the features of the father.