One of the important early American portratists was Oliver Tarbell Eddy (1799-1868). A lot of his work was done in New Jersey, especially Newark during the 1830s. Thus they are an important source of information about clothing and families in the period just before the invention of photography. Eddy was a portraitist and he did both individual and family group portraits. We note the older Alling children. Their father was Stephen Ball Alling (1808–61). He was a partner in the prosperous New Jersey jewelry firm of Alling, Hall, and Dodd, and Jane H. Weir (1811–89).
The children from left to to right are Stephen Ball (1835–39), Mary Wilder (1836-??), Cornelia Meigs (1833-??), and Emma (1831-??). The apparent ages of the children date the work to around 1839.
Stephen is the only boy. The children are all dressed alike in low-cut dresses. Notice the half sleeves with the puff at the elbows. The children all wear similar pntlettes, white socks, and blaclk slippers. Te only differences that we note is that Stephen's dress is a dark color and his hem is shorter. The props are interesting. The hammar confirms that he is a boy.
Given the age of the children, the portraot was painted about 1839. Note the lack of interaction between the subjects. This probably means that the children pose individually. Stephen may have alredy passed away.
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