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Can anyone help with these portraits???

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Can anyone help with these portraits???

Postby Byron130 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:29 pm

A few years ago I was reunited with a long lost relative who had these 2 painted portraits of our ancestors. I now have colour copies hanging in my home, but I would love to have more of an idea of an actual date for them.

The lady with the red hair is my maternal great grandmother Alice Morley (nee Simpson) born in Bradford on 20th August 1893 and the dark haired lady is her mother Janetta (Jane) Simpson (nee Broom) born on 2nd March 1851 in Dudley.

From my research I found the husband, William Simpson (born approx 1857 in Durham), hanged himself on 1st January 1909 and and there was another daughter Elizabeth born in 1891 (no other children were ever born) but I have no knowledge if either of these people had a portrait done.

The reason I would like to put a date to the pictures is because, until I was shown them, I believed this family to be quite poor (the girls worked in a woollen mill and the father was a miner) and I can't understand how they would have the means to pay for portraits like this, or even how expensive they would have been.

If anyone could help me find a date, place or estimate of what would have been paid for them I would be very grateful.

Faye Vaughan
Janetta Simpson.jpg
Janetta Simpson.jpg (51.15 KiB) Viewed 1493 times
Alice Simpson.jpg
Alice Simpson.jpg (58.04 KiB) Viewed 1493 times
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Re: Can anyone help with these portraits???

Postby debsstock » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:01 pm

Hi Faye
I think these are lovely, and quite unusual - they don't look as though they've been painted from life though. I wonder if the painter was working from photographs? The roses definitely look as though they've been added on.
I would have said that Alice was about 11 or 12 in the picture, from her dress and the way she is wearing her hair. That would put the original image at about 1904 I think if my memory serves me correctly (sorry, I can't see your message whilst I'm typing this!).
As they're both wearing black, though, I wonder if they were in mourning? It's probably too early for the death of William, but was there a grandparent who died in the early 1900s?
If they are painted from photos, that could have been done any time later of course. Was there a talented painter in the family - perhaps the other daughter, Elizabeth?
You might get some clues from the size of the actual paintings, the type of paper (or is it canvas) and how they are framed/mounted. I don't have any professional expertise in this, but you could try taking your copies, and perhaps the originals, into an art supplies store/art class/school art teacher or even contacting a professional portrait painter or a local gallery/museum for some ideas.

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Re: Can anyone help with these portraits???

Postby Byron130 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:12 am

Hi Deb,
Thanks very much for that!
It's opened my mind to a few new ideas, also i've recently found that Janetta's father was killed on a railway line in 1904 so that could tie in too.
As for a painter or artist in the family I really don't know - the girls in that family all worked in a worsted mill as spinners but they may well have had this talent - I'll have to look into it further.

Thanks for the feedback, it's very much appreciated.

Faye x :D
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