American: Artist Unknown
Post Mortem* Portrait of Miss Frances Spencer (1822-1843),
Daughter of Edwin Spencer, Executive of
Connecticut River Banking Co., Hartford, Connecticut
2 3/8 x 3 inches (sight)
watercolor on ivory; housed in a later frame with original gilded ormolu mat
*It is the unfinished, lightly modeled nature of this portrait that leads one to conclude that it was likely painted post mortem. A handwritten note to the reverse reads, "Frances Spencer / Died at / Hartford April 1844 / Aged 22 yrs". Research has revealed errors in the note, however, which was likely written by a family member years after the portrait was painted. To wit, both Connecticut vital statistics and a newspaper obituary reveal that Frances died on April 23, 1843, at the age of 21. She is buried at Hartford's Old North Cemetery; and her grave marker reads, "FRANCES SPENCER / Died April 23, 1843 / Aged 21 years".
Frances Spencer's newspaper obituary, as appeared in the "Hartford Daily Courant",
April 25, 1843 edition, Vol. 7, No. 97, Whole No. 1725, page 2.