1840 & 1841 E.S. Goddard Miniature Portraits

Value (2017) | $8,000 Insurance$20,000 Insurance

I'm a direct descendant of them. They've been in my family forever.

When your mother died, you inherited these, was that correct?

Yes, I did. They were always packed away in boxes. They've never been displayed.

Wow. Well, that may explain the great condition that they're in. They are two remarkable miniature portraits. They're painted on a little panel of mahogany, and they're painted with oil paints. Quite frankly, I was astonished to see them today. These portraits we know were painted about 1840, probably in Georgetown, Kentucky, by an artist named E.S. Goddard. We know that because on the back, the owners... signed both of these portraits. And this is very unusual in itself. Here we have Henry James Osborne. And he was born in 1820. It says, "Taken by E. S. Goddard in 1840." And we know Osborne was born, and it took me a while to figure out where this was, and that's Coosawhatchie, South Carolina.

Coosawhatchie, I've never heard that before.

So Coosawhatchie is a small town that barely exists today in the coastal plain of South Carolina. And then here we have Susan Garritt Osborne, born in 1824, and again taken by Goddard in 1841. And she was born in Georgetown, Kentucky. So we can speculate that this couple are man and wife, and that the paintings were probably made in Georgetown. When you look at these paintings, you think they should be really big, larger portraits. The detail in the background, with the landscape and the sun. And then the drape, and the glorious morning or late-afternoon sky here and this drape, is just remarkable for these. They're missing their original frames, and you never saw them with the frames.

Never. They've never been displayed as long as I've been alive.

I'm sort of stumbling here, because they're just so remarkable. They're very rare, to see this scale of portrait. And for Kentucky, they're even rarer. So I showed them to my fellow colleagues at the folk art table, and we all agreed that a good minimum auction estimate would be $8,000 to $10,000 for the pair.

What? (laughing) Wow. Great. Oh, man.

And I think that there may be some upside on the $10,000 side, because what I can tell you is that regional collectors still like the things that were made in their region. And there are some very passionate Kentucky collectors. If I were you, I would probably insure them for $15,000 or $20,000.


Appraisal Details

Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
Cincinnati, OH
Appraised value (2017)
$8,000 Insurance$20,000 Insurance
New Orleans, LA (July 22, 2017)
Folk Art

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