Figure 1.--Susan Waters painted these two brothers about 1845. Note that the Eton suit had reached rural America by the 1840s.
Art was considered a man's profession. This was especially true of American primitive artists as many were itenerate. It woulf not have been acceptable for a woman to travel in rural America seeking commisiins. Still there were a few women artists in the major towns. Susan Waters was one of the most important.
Susan Waters, one of the few women, American primitive artist painted many, providing valuable information on individual fashion in a period in which photography was just beginning to provide images. Unfortunately HBC has be unable to find any information on her.
I know of two interesting images painted by Waters. The first is identified as "Brothers". I do not know who they are other than they live in rural America. The second is identified as the Lincoln children. It is not President Lincoln's family.
The available portraits by Waters provide information on several important fashions.
Figure 2.--Paintings are often difficult to analize, but this 1845 American primitive by Susan Waters shows an example of the dresses worn by the Lincoln sisters in 1848. The child between these two sisters wearing pinafores may be a boy based on the observation that his face looks more boyish than his sisters and the hem of his dress is above the knees. This often was the case with dresses made for boys at the time. Also, one would think if they were sisters they would have similar hair styles. Why would the twins have carefully coifed hair while the younger child have her hair chopped off at the collar? This seems unlikely if the child was another sister.
I have found no good sources on Waters yet.
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