Oil Study for Portrait of Joseph Norris Dowlin, 1897
Courtesy of the owner
Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches
The sketch of Norris, the baby of the Dowlin family, shows
him at age three or four enveloped by the huge, ornate red upholstered chair he
is sitting in. His blond hair cascades in long curls, and he is wearing the
frilly white clothes that Victorian families often inflicted on little boys.
Surviving photos of the “lost” final version of Norris’s portrait show that it
was elaborately detailed, even to the point of making recognizable the story in
the open book the child is pointing to—“Old King Cole.” A receipt for this
painting, dated 1897, shows that Trego was paid one hundred dollars for the
work. While Trego created oil studies of all three Dowlin children, he only
completed a final version of this youngest child. The reason for this is
From Luther Dowlin, who commissioned it, to
Joseph Norris Dowlin, to one of his descendants.
The painting is in general good condition,
though in need of a cleaning.
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