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Eliza Gordon (Mrs. Zophar Willard Brooks)
Samuel Addison Shute (1803–1836)and Ruth Whittier Shute (1803–1882)

Location: Peterborough, New Hampshire, United States

Date: c. 1833

Materials: Watercolor and gouache on paper with applied gold paper

Dimensions: 24 5/8 × 19"

Credit: Museum purchase

Accession Number: 1981.12.24

Photo credit: Gavin Ashworth

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Description

This portrait of Eliza Gordon exemplifies the Shutes’ method of working. It features the characteristic heavy pencil shading, watercolor wash in the background, unusual use of applied gold paper to simulate jewelry, unpainted areas to suggest sheer fabric, and ribbon-like spaces between the full sleeves and waist. It is also an example of the type of portrait the Shutes produced for the young women employed by New England textile mills.

Eliza Gordon (1813–1893) was born in Henniker, New Hampshire, and worked in the Phoenix Factory, a cotton mill in Peterborough, from June 1833 to February 1835. In her portrait, she is seated in a paint-decorated chair and holds a rose. In June 1835, she married Zophar Willard Brooks (1812–1906), of Hancock, New Hampshire. Brooks was a farmer, a carriage and housepainter, and a chair decorator. The couple lived in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, for a few years, then removed to the Brooks family property in Hancock by 1840. Brooks held many public positions in his community.

Stacy C. Hollander, "Eliza Gordon (Mrs. Zophar Willard Brooks)," in American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2001), 322


Eliza Gordon (Mrs. Zophar Willard Brooks)
Date: c. 1833
Artist:
Dimensions: 24 5/8 × 19"
Materials: Watercolor and gouache on paper with applied gold paper
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Place/Region: United States, Peterborough
Description: Frontal three-Quarter length potrait of a young woman with pale blue eyes and pink lips seated in yellow chair with painted decoration across rail, right arm crossing before waist top of head with two tortoiseshell combs. Wearing black dress: full sleeves with lace trim, lace yoke with high collar and lace around her nack and gold band on third finger of (P) R Hand. Details of face pencilled in with heavy shading around areas of eyes, sides of nose, above lips and chin. Blue paint outlining figure to edges. Frame: wood frame molding with gilded outside and inside edges, middle area painted black. Mitered corners, nail construction, backed with foam core; old board (in two pieces)nailed to frame four sides.
Accession Number: 1981.12.24
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