Mary Balch School Mourning Picture, ca. 1805

Value (2007) | $20,000 Retail$30,000 Retail

GUEST:
This was a piece that hung in my grandmother's dining room. It was left to me. It hung in my mother's dining room, now hangs in my dining room. I don't really know where the piece came from. It's one of a few that we have, similar, but not quite alike.

APPRAISER:
Now, where did your grandmother live?

GUEST:
My grandmother grew up in Mayfield, Kentucky. Now, here dad was a U.S. senator, and traveled to Washington, D.C., all the time. I don't know if it came from his side or where it actually came from.

APPRAISER:
You said you had a group of these?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
It's actually from the Mary Balch School of Providence, Rhode Island. It's quite a wonderful one, one of the most elaborate ones I've ever seen. It was done around 1800 to 1810.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
There are several features that are special. Number one, it's very large size. Number two, this wonderful original glass mat which was painted on the reverse. It's known as an eglomise mat, which is quite unusual to have the original. And the original beautiful gilded frame. This was done at the school or the academy and then the framer would come in with the eglomise panel and the frame and frame them, usually right in the school. There are some very unusual features on the needlework. Number one, it's silk on silk and also has chenille motifs here. And the chenille is actually a nubbly type of silk thread that they used. And chenille, in French, actually means "caterpillar." And if you look down here, it looks like the surface of a caterpillar's skin. It is what is known as a mourning picture. And these were done when somebody died and it was a memorial to them. So I think it's a great New England historic, documented piece, done in a known school. Now, have you ever had it appraised?

GUEST:
No, I have not.

APPRAISER:
Well, it has a retail value of between $20,000 and $30,000...

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
...because of its all- original condition.

GUEST:
Wow. Thank you very much.

APPRAISER:
Thank you.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Northeast Auctions
Portsmouth, NH
Appraised value (2007)
$20,000 Retail$30,000 Retail
Event
Louisville, KY (July 28, 2007)
Period
19th Century
Form
Needlework
Material
Textile, Thread

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