Folk Art American Sea Captain Portrait, ca. 1790
We believe this is Aaron Delano. And he would be my fifth great-grand uncle. He's been... actually been hanging in my grandmother's house when I was young. And then went to my parents' house. And now I own him. And we believe that he is, through both research and word of mouth, that he was the youngest sea captain in the New England area. He was born in 1767. And unfortunately, he passed away lost at sea in 1794. But while he was alive... and we believe he was doing a trade route on the New England coast from Plymouth to Nantucket, up the coast to Turner, Maine, and sometimes to Nova Scotia. Over the years, we have decided as a family that he's probably haunted. (laughing) And when I was a teenager in my home, when we got... when my parents got him, they'd hang him in the front stairway. And I would swear that I could hear him open and close the front door, walk up the stairs, and walk down the hall. And I would think it was my father or my mother coming home, and I'd go out, and there was no one there. And my older sister also experienced the... the walking sound in the hallway. When I was taking the picture down to bring it here, my husband was helping me. He was on the ladder. And all of a sudden the ladder slipped and went, "Oh!" First thing he said was, "Oh, Aaron." (laughing)
We see portraits of people's relatives all the time. And very, very seldom do we ever see anything with this much going on in it. It's as much an illustration of his occupation as anything else. But he's very handsome, he's young. I love his face and the way that's painted. And I love the patterned cloth on his vest. And there he's using the tools of his trade. That looks like a map, and that instrument is an octant.
Which means that it would do an eighth of a circle. But they were used for navigational purposes. It's hard to see how good this is right now because it's behind this glass. Normally, you don't put oil paintings behind glass. Because this is an oil on canvas. And we know that it's 18th century. And we know that it's American. So you add all that up with what's illustrated in this, and I think you have something that's very extraordinary in terms of what appeals to people who collect Americana and folk art. We don't know who the artist is. Because lots of times, these artists were itinerant, and we don't know who a lot of them were. Just in the condition that it's in right now, it's got paint loss. If you look right here, I think there's some... I think there's actually some film on the glass.
But most importantly, there's no loss in his face, or in the instruments, and the detail of the painting that I think really makes it valuable. And so after much conversation at the folk art table, we feel like at an auction, in as-is condition, its value would be $8,000 to $10,000.
Okay, that's good. That's exciting.
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