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SARAH GOODRIDGE

May 1, 1947  |  By AGNES M. DODS; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, May 1947.

THE WORK OF SARAH GOODRIDGE, one of the lesser known miniature painters of New England, has been increasing steadily in popularity for some years. Although her claim to fame rests mainly on her miniature of Gilbert Stuart, a diligent search of the countryside has brought to light many excellent likenesses from her brush.

Biographical material concerning this artist is somewhat meager. We do know that she was born in Templeton, Massachusetts, February 5, 1788, the daughter of Ebenezer and Beulah (Childs) Goodridge. Her father was an itinerant shoemaker whose duties took him far from home and his somewhat unusual family. Eben, an older son, made organs and later went to Boston where he taught music. David, another son, became a physician, while Eliza also developed artistic talent.

Sarah's first artistic attempts were pictures drawn on the sanded floor of the kitchen with a sharp stick or scratched on white birch logs piled in the yard for fuel. At school she drew portraits of schoolmates.

At an early period in her life Sarah became interested in sculpturing but since materials were scarce this talent was never developed. After teaching in the village schools for a while, she went to Boston to live with relatives and here she was said to have become acquainted with an unknown individual from Hartford, Connecticut, who taught her all he knew about painting. A small booklet containing instructions for painting on ivory came into her possession and she followed the text carefully, soon developing a style of her own.

Her first portraits were life-size crayons in red and black. These were executed at Templeton during the summer of 1812 while the artist was on a vacation at her former home. Some water colors were also produced at this time. The prices of the latter were slightly higher than the fifty cents charged for crayons. Later Miss Goodridge worked in oil, but she soon gave up that medium and devoted herself to miniatures.

In 1820 she opened a studio in Boston and settled down in earnest to her career. A friend introduced her to the master, Gilbert Stuart, who saw great promise in her work and advised her to attend a drawing school for further instruction. He also examined her work and gave generously of his criticism and suggestions for improvement. In 1825 he sat to her for the now famous miniature, which he declared to be his only true likeness. This is now owned by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and shows Stuart as a rugged individual.

Another of her famous subjects was Daniel Webster. An unfinished miniature of Webster is on loan at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston , which own another likeness.

In 1828-1829, and again in 1841-1842, the artist was in Washington, where she is thought to have carried on her profession as a painter. A little later she returned to Massachusetts, where she bought a home in Reading. She continued to work, and is said to have produced a miniature every few days. Her death occurred in 1853, shortly after a Christmas vacation spent with her relatives in Boston. She was stricken with paralysis, and died within a few days.

Since Sarah Goodridge is known to have worked up until a short while before her death, the forty or so miniatures listed here are but a part of what must have been a prolific output. It is hoped that more may be brought to the attention of museums and historical societies as time goes on.

The Goodridge miniatures are almost invariably painted on ivory in water color. Each subject is carefully depicted. The color scheme is somewhat drab, with a bit of color appearing unexpectedly in a shawl, drapery, or upholstery. Her earlier miniatures, of course, were somewhat crude, but she developed a technique that was almost photographic in detail.

A very human side of the artist is revealed in a set of paper dolls painted for the artist's niece, and owned by Miss Eleanor Whidden of Marblehead. These are inscribed Painted for Ellen Bailey Goodridge, 1842. There is an entire family: a father, a mother delicately gowned in pink, an infant with removable layette, compete even to a pair of tiny socks with tassels, a golden-haired daughter, and a little boy.

Note: Among the works consulted for these notes on Sarah Goodridge are The Life and Works of Gilbert Stuart, by George C. Mason, and American Portraits(1620-1827) found in Massachusetts (2 vols.), Boston, 1939. I am deeply indebted to Miss Eleanor Whidden of Marblehead for information concerning the artist; also to Miss Elizabeth Simpson of "Littlewood," Mexico, New York; the Narragansett Historical Society, Templeton, Massachusetts; the Department of Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

MINIATURES BY SARAH GOODRIDGE

ABBOT, REVEREND JOHN EMERY (1783-1819)

Size: 23/4 by 23/4 inches

Owner: Essex Institute, Salem Massachusetts

ALLEN, MRS. SARAH JONES

Size: 21/2 by 21/8 inches

Owner: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

APPLETON, ELIZABETH

Size: 7 cm. by 5.5 cm

Owner: 1931, Ehrich Galleries, New York

(There is also one listed as owned by Miss Caroline Prince, New York.)

APPLETON, SARAH, AND HER CAT "SANKO"

Size: 31/2 by 31/2 inches

Owner: Miss Eleanor Whidden, Marblehead, Massachusetts

AUSTIN, MRS. JAMES TRECOTHICK (CATHERINE GERRY) (1808-1899)

Size: Unknown

Owner: Elbridge Gerry Greene, Lancaster, Massachusetts

AUSTIN, IVERS T.

Size: Uknown

Owner: Elbridge Gerry Greene, Lancaster

BAILEY, ELEANOR

Size: Unknown

Owner: Mrs. A. H. Ward, Milton, Massachusetts

BAILEY, EBEN

Size: Unknown

Owner: Mrs. A. H. Ward, Milton

BUSH, JONATHAN (1790-1854)

Size: 31/4 by 25/8 inches

Owner: Mrs. George N. Lewis, Cambridge, Massachusetts

BUSH, MRS. JONATHAN

Size: 23/4 by 31/2 inches

Owner: 1925, Miss B. V. Osgood, Cambridge, Massachusetts

CHANDLER, CATHERINE AMORY (later Mrs. Theophilus Parsons)

Size: 31/16 by 21/2 inches

Owner: Miss Sabra Parsons Mallet, Garden City, Long Island

CHANDLER, NATHANIEL (1773-1852)

Size: 37/16 by 23/4 inches

Owner: Miss Sabra Parsons Mallett, Garden City, Long Island

CHANDLER, MRS. NATHANIEL (Polly Greene of Woodstock, Vermont) (1783-1869)

Size: 31/2 by 25/8 inches

Owner: Miss Sabra Parsons Mallet, Garden City, Long Island

CHILD, WILLIAM (1759-1836)

Size: 33/4 by 23/4

Owner: Unknown

(Note: There is a miniature of William Child, .10 by .077, owned by Miss B. V. Osgood, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1925) and attributed to Eliza Goodridge)

CODMAN, HENRY (1789-1854)

Size: 31/2 by 3 inches

Owner: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

GOODRIDGE, MRS. EBEN (Lydia Bailey)

Size: Unknown

Owner: Mrs. A. H. Ward, Milton

GOODRIDGE, JAMES EDWARD

Size: Unknown

Owner: Mrs. A. H. Ward, Milton

GOODRIDGE, SARAH (1788-1853)

Size: 41/4 by 43/4 inches (on parchment)

Owner: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

GOUDRY, MRS. ALICE (of Wilmington, Massachusetts)

Size: 31/2 by 27/8 inches

Owner: Metropolitan Museum of Art

GRAY, NICHOLAS

Size: 21/2 by 23/4

Owner: Mrs. A. Clark Walling, Boston

HEYWOOD, NATHANIEL (1788-1832)

Size: Unknown

Owner: Mabel Brady Garvan collection, New Haven, Connecticut

JOY, MRS. BENJAMIN (Hannah Barrell) (1773-1842)

Size: 31/2 by 27/8

Owner: Mrs. Charles Henry Joy, Boston

KNOX, GENERAL HENRY (1750-1806)

Size: 13/4 by 21/4 inches (after Gilbert Stuart)

Owner: Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

LEE, MAJOR GENERAL HENRY (1756-1818)

Size: Unknown (after Gilbert Stuart)

Owner: 1938, Luke Vincent Lockwood, New York

MELLEN, GRENVILLE (1789-1841)

Size: 23/4 inches diameter

Owner: Herbert L. Pratt, Glen Cove, Long Island

OTIS, MRS. SAMUEL ALLEYNE (Mary Smith) (1757-1842)

Size: .088 by .065

Owner: Miss Gertrude Townsend, Boston

PAINE, DOCTOR WILLIAM

Size: Unknown (painted 1825)

Owner: Misses Frances and Bessie Paine, Brookline, Massachusetts

PARSONS, THEOPHILUS

Size: 31/16 by 27/16 inches (inscribed Painted by S. Goodridge November 1820)

Owner: Mrs. Percy S. Mallet, Garden City

PEABODY, MRS. FRANCIS (Martha Endicott) (1799-1891)

Size: Unknown

Owner: 1924, Mrs. John Endicott Peabody

PERRY, OLIVER HAZARD (1785-1819)

Size: .06 by .075

Owner: Dwight Prouty, Washington, D.C.

(C.H. Hart said, "Not Perry; not by Sarah Goodridge")

RICHARDSON, LYDIA (Mrs. Leonard)

Size: 33/4 by 23/4 inches (attributed to Sarah Goodridge, but not typical of her work)

Owner: Narragansett Historical Society, Templeton, Massachusetts

ROBBINS, CHANDLER (Minister of Second Church, Boston)

Size: 21/2 by 2 inches

Owner: Miss Eleanor Whidden, Marblehead

SARGENT, ESTHER (Later Mrs. Thomas Coffin) (1798-1847)

Size: Unknown

Owner: Elbridge Gerry Greene, Lancaster

SARGENT, FITZWILLIAM

Size: Unknown

Owner: Unknown

SARGENT, IGNATIUS (brother of Esther Sargent) (1800-1884)

Size: Unknown

Owner: Elbridge Gerry Greene, Lancaster

SARGENT, JULIANA

Size: Unknown

Owner: Unknown

SARGENT, MRS. SOLOMON

Size: 23/4 by 31/2 inches

Owner: 1925, Miss B. V. Osgood, Cambridge

STONE, COLONEL EPHRAIM

Size: 21/2 by 11/2 inches

Owner: Narragansett Historical Society, Templeton, Massachusetts

STONE, MRS. EPHRAIM (Eliza Goodridge (b. 1798)

Size: 21/2 by 21/2 inches

Owner: Narragansett Historical Society, Templeton, Massachusetts

STUART, GILBERT (1755-1828)

Size: 37/10 by 3 inches

Owner: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

STUART, GILBERT (1755-1828)

Size: 31/4 by 21/4 inches

Owner: Metropolitan Museum of Art

STURGIS, RUSSELL (1750-1826)

Size: 31/2 by 41/4 inches (after Gilbert Stuart)

Owner: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

THOMAS, ISAIAH (1749-1831)

Size: 3 by 21/4 inches

Owner: Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts

TUCKER, MRS. ICHABOD (Sarah Orne Paine) (1774-1854)

Size: 4 by 31/2 inches. (painted in 1811)

Owner: Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts

WEBSTER, DANIEL (1782-1852)

Size: Approx. 31/4 by 3 inches (unfinished)

On Loan: Massachusetts Historical Society

WEBSTER, DANIEL (1782-1852)

Size: Approx. 31/4 by 3 inches (painted in 1827)

Owner: Massachusetts Historical Society

(In 1931 Herbert L. Pratt owned a miniature of Webster by Sarah Goodridge, 9 cm. by 7 cm.)

WEBSTER, EZEKIEL (brother of Daniel) (1780-1829)

Size: 3 by 27/16 inches

Owner: 1938, Erskine Hewitt, New York

WEBSTER, MRS. EZEKIEL

Size: 3 by 27/16 inches

Owner: 1938, Erskine Hewitt, New York

WILLARD, MRS. JOSEPH

Size: 31/4 by 25/8 inches

Owner: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

WILLARD, JOSEPH

Size: 31/4 by 25/8 inches

Owner: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

WINSLOW, ANDREW GARDNER

Size: 7.3 cm. by 6 cm.

Owner: 1931, Clapp and Graham Co., New York

UNKNOWN WOMAN

Size: 3 by 11/2 inches (attributed to Sarah Goodridge)

Owner: Narragansett Historical Society, Templeton, Massachusetts

UNKNOWN WOMAN (a Mrs. Hale of New Hampshire?)

Size: 33/8 by 23/8 inches

Owner: Miss Eleanor Whidden, Marblehead

UNKNOWN GIRL

Size: Approx. 3 by 11/2 inches (attributed to Sarah Goodridge)

Owner: Narragansett Historical Society, Templeton, Massachusetts

UNKNOWN MAN

Size: 3 by 11/2 inches

Owner: Narragansett Historical Society, Templeton, Massachusetts

UKNOWN MAN

Size: 3 by 21/2 inches

Owner: Miss Eleanor Whidden, Marblehead

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