Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grace Sutherland

While her brother, Thomas Sutherland, Jr. (1797-1880), concerned himself with writing poetry, Grace Sutherland (1826-1861) turned to art. Her sketch of the Sutherland church has been preserved, as has a rather bucolic scene of a pasture, and--of course--the silhouette she completed of her father, Thomas Sutherland (1772-1850), featured above (apologies for the substandard reproduction). The silhouette was a popular form of portraiture in the early nineteenth-century, and just one of the forms in which Sutherland was memorialized, in this instance some time around 1849.

It is not known how Grace acquired her artistic instruction; Field Talfourd of nearby Froomfield was an artist, but he did not remain in Canada long enough to have been acquainted with Grace. We do know, however, that an English governess (Miss Clark) was brought over by Captain William Elliott Wright for the benefit of his four daughters; Grace was said to have joined their classes, and was known to be friends with his daughter Catherine (who would marry senator Alexander Vidal). As drawing was considered an appropriate accomplishment for a young lady of the time, it is possible her instruction began at Wright's home, "Oaklands."

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