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A LITTLE MASTERWORK(!!!) PORTRAIT OF A BABY BOY WITH RIDING CROP
New England, ca. 1845. One of the finest Prior-school portraits of this type known. Attributed to William Mathew Prior . Oil on board. The inviting warm color palette complemented by the striking, unique, paint decorated frame. The shape of the lips and eyes, and softness of the face are exceptional. The child centering colorful draped swags with rim lighting. Note red corals at each sleeve of the delicate, lace-trimmed dress, the coral typically worn by children as it was believed to ward off evil. He grasps a riding crop, a device sometimes held in portraits as they were a common gift for boys in this period. Even though way too young to ride a living horse or pony, he could saddle-up with his crop on his rocking horse. The paint decorated frame is a treasure on its own, yet combined with the portrait creates a singular presence. Overall frame size about 18 inches x 13 3/4. Exceptional condition. Provenance: Distinguished private collection for decades. A rare opportunity to acquire an iconic folk art image.
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