Presenting Mrs Augustus Seaborn Jones.

Bottled Poetry.

Mrs Seaborn Jones, c. 1826-46, by C.R. Parker. Mrs Seaborn Jones, by C.R. Parker (active c. 1826-49).
Image courtesy of The Frick Collection Digital Image Archive.

When browsing among the goods in antique stores and the occasional junk store, one inevitably comes across an old painting bearing the likeness of person whose identity is unknown — perhaps obtained from the estate of the last person who could identify them, or deaccessioned by descendants in need of cash who don’t know or care who they are.  If the shopkeeper has a sense of humor, he or she may label the painting “Instant Ancestor!” as an inducement to purchase.  Not so this oil painting, still cherished by her descendants and gracing the parlor of one of the more substantial dwellings in Charlotte County, Virginia.

The style of dress suggests that the painting dates from the early 1830s, when exaggerated puffed sleeves were abandoned for a more streamlined look, and the…

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