ATTRIBUTED TO AMMI PHILLIPS
(1788 - 1865)
PAIR OF PORTRAITS: SAMUEL AND LETITIA SLOANE
oil on canvas
Wallkill, Orange Co., New York
Each 30 by 24 in.
In excellent overall condition with negligible restoration. With modern frames and original strainers. Reportedly lightly cleaned at one point, though there is no evidence of this. Both with nice aged varnish and slight abrasion from the top of the strainer. Her: Light scattered inpainting around proper right eye. Him: inpainting to small round area on chin.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Descended in the family of the sitters;
William J. Jenack Auctioneers, Chester, New York, January 14, 1996, lot 359;
Marguerite Riordan, Stonington, Connecticut.
Joan R. Brownstein and Bobbi Terkowitz, “A Brilliant Formula: Ammi Phillips’s Women in White,” Magazine Antiques, November 2007, 160-1, pl. X;
David R. Allaway, My People: The Works of Ammi Phillips, (self published [https://issuu.com/n2xb/docs/ammi_phillips_-_abstract__thumbnail and https://issuu.com/n2xb/docs/ammi_phillips_-_analysis__indexed_], 2019), vol 1., p. 15 and 163, nos. 455, 456, vol 2., p. 39, 97.
Brother and sister Samuel and Letitia Sloane were respectively born in 1801 and 1804 in Wallkill, New York. She married William Chapman in 1836 and their daughter Catherine, born in 1842, went on to marry John Cornell, the nephew of Ezra Cornell and founder of Cornell University. Both Samuel and Letitia are portrayed seated and shown in three-quarter length view, he seated on a painted chair holding a copy of Butler’s History and she on an upholstered sofa with Milton’s Works. Both furniture forms are present in other paintings by Phillips and the choice of literature they carry reveal their individual intellectual pursuits. The artist’s uncanny skill of portraying texture is evident, with Samuel wearing a black wool jacket with wrapped white crimped shirt stock and collar while Letitia wears a multi-layered white dress with diaphanous sleeves, embellished with lace trim and fan collar, the whole embroidered with hundreds of delicate white dots. The color red is used by Phillips to contrast and visually tie different sections of the painting, with her red earrings and rosy cheeks matching her red shall that wraps behind her white dress and hands.