I am now the proud owner of an oil painting on wood canvas by John Opie of my great-great-great-granduncle, Thomas Stewardson, who was portrait painter to Queen Caroline
It turns out that of all our possessions, this is one of the most valuable ones. Several of Opie’s works hang in the National Portrait Gallery in the UK, as well as several of Stewardson’s works.
This comes down from my mother’s side of the family (which also, unfortunately, gave me the “crazy Hinchman blood”). I’ve spent hours sitting in front of that portrait, being comforted by it, thinking grand thoughts, while Thomas Stewardson smiles down a cryptic smile at me.
Now it will hang over my bed on Cape Cod, because my parents refuse to put it anywhere else, as it “doesn’t fit” with the decor of our Cape Cod house. Phooey on them, huzzah for me, is what I say. It’s a great portrait, even if the years have made everything but the face barely legible. I’m honored to have it, and to keep it in the family.
Best of all, my annoying cousins don’t get it. 🙂
I’ll try to take a photo of it and post it on here at some time. We simply call it “The Ancestor”.