May 12, 2012
(Charleston, South Carolina/Swiss, 1719-1774) Elizabeth Allen Deas (1742-1802), marriage portrait at the age of sixteen, oil on canvas, 30-1/8 x 25-1/4 in.; late 18th/early 19th century carved and gilt wood frame,
laid down on Masonite, retouch affecting approximately 15 percent of surface with most in background and points in chest, brow, chin, hairline and dress, conserved in the mid 1950s; frame resurfaced and with abrasions
Lot Notes: On May 3, 1759, at age sixteen, Elizabeth Allen married a successful merchant and landowner, John Deas. She was the daughter of Mary Keating and William Allen, who, according to the research file at The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, was a “justice of the peace and lived at Thoroughgood Plantation on Oola Coll Creek near the headwaters of Goose Creek”. As with many of the important early families of Charleston, South Carolina, a portrait was commissioned to commemorate the event from Jeremiah Theus, a prominent artist with a studio on the corner of Broad and Meeting Streets. In many of Theus’ portraits of girls and women, the costume was fabricated from known print sources rather than being a faithful reproduction of a gown. Whether imagined or not, she is pictured with all the 18th century symbols of marriage popular at the time. Her white satin wedding gown is a symbol of joy and is crossed with a blue ribbon representing purity. She is holding a wreath of flowers, possibly used in the traditional wreath dance of the period and representing her maidenhood. This rare southern portrait, having passed through the hands of two South Carolina Governors, has been shared with the public for over thirty years through loans at two important southern institutions, The Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina, and The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina. Exhibition History: Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina, Accession No. 68.36.64, 1968-1994; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2000-2012 Literature: MESDA File No. 5-8826; Middleton, Margaret Simons, Jeremiah Theus: Colonial Artist Of Charles Town, 1953, revised 1991, pg. 57
William (1720-1749) and Mary Keating Allen (1721-1763), Charleston, South Carolilna, and later second husband, George Seaman, Thorogood Plantation, Goose Creek Parish, South Carolina; John (1735-1790) and Elizabeth Allen Deas (1742-1802), Thorogood Plantation; Captain Archibald (1753-1797) and Mary Deas Broun (1762-1857); William (born 1787) and Elizabeth Broun Sinkler (born 1784), Eutaw Plantation, Berkeley County, South Carolina; Richard Irvine (1789-1836, Governor 1824-1826) and Elizabeth R. Richardson Manning (1794-1852); Richard Irvine (1817-1861) and Elizabeth Allen Sinkler Manning (1821-1908); Richard Irvine (1859-1931, Governor 1915-1919) and Lelie Bernard Meredith Manning (1861-1947); John Adger (1899-1986) and Margaret Sams Elliot Manning (1905-1983); By descent to consigner
Estimate: $70,000 - $90,000
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