Attributed to James Reid Lambdin
"Portrait of a Woman, Possibly Jane McClary Bisland (1829-1894), Member of Bisland, Lambdin and Sessums Families of Edgewood Plantation, Natchez, Mississippi"
oil on canvas
unsigned, typewritten label identifying artist, sitter and provenance, and "Ford's Gallery, Jackson, Mississippi" label en verso.
In a modern frame with period interior oval aperture.
30" x 24", framed 37" x 31-1/2"
Provenance: Descended in the family of sitter; Estate of Dr. Carroll Ball, Jackson, Mississippi, through Guercio's Antiques, Natchez, Mississippi, 1989.
Literature: Patti Carr Black, Art in Mississippi 1720-1980 (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1998) pp. 50-52.
Ruth Irwin Weldner, The Lambdins of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Schwarz Gallery, 2002).
Notes: The typed note on the back of this portrait identifies the sitter as "an unidentified member of the Bisland/Lambdin/Sessums family of Edgewood Plantation near Natchez", and notes that the portrait was "obtained from a Mrs. Powers (a Sessums) of Vidalia [Louisiana]".
The artist James Reid Lambdin's connection to Edgewood was very close indeed; the Greek Revival plantation house was built by his brother Samuel Hopkins Lambdin (1811-1902) in 1859/60. James Lambdin had received an invitation from Anne Dunbar (Mrs. Samuel) Postlethwaite to make a professional visit to Natchez in 1830 (owing in part to the promotions of John J. Audubon, who briefly shared a studio with Lambdin in Pittsburgh), and he painted there from late December 1830 until May 1831. His brother Samuel, who had worked as commander of the steamboat Ohioan, settled in Natchez in 1835, becoming a partner in the plantation supply business Lambdin & Bennett. James Lambdin continued to visit his brother in Natchez, executing portraits for several prominent families including the Bislands, Beltzhoovers and Stantons.
It is likely, then, that the sitter is Samuel Hopkins Lambdin's wife, Jane McClary Bisland (1822-1894). The young woman's dress and cascading crimped curls point to a mid-1840s date, and the prominent wedding band on her left hand suggests a newlywed; Jane McClary Bisland (daughter William and Mary Witherspoon Bisland) married Samuel Lambdin in Natchez on January 5, 1842, when she was 19. The Mrs. "Sessums/Powers" of Vidalia has not been identified, but it is to be noted that there is an Elizabeth Power (nee Sessions) of Vidalia who is a direct descendant of Samuel and Jane Bisland Lambdin through their daughter Louise Lambdin (Mrs. Louis) Winston.