This 1851 portrait commemorates angelic young brothers John Daniel Parsons, Stephen Albert Parsons and Nathaniel H. Parsons. The children are dressed in the height of mid-19th-century finery, with four-year-old John Daniel (left) in a brown jacket trimmed with a black, pleated ruffle collar and cuffs. The youngest, two-year-old Stephen Albert (center), wears a long-sleeved turquoise dress fastened down the front with white buttons and topped with a narrow, lace-edged collar. On the right, three-year-old Nathaniel dons a dark green jacket with a white collar visible above its black collar.
Harriet Robinson Parsons, the boys’ mother, died three days after the birth of her youngest son, and the boys’ aunt and uncle, John and Apphia Parsons, took custody of the children. Aunt Apphia commissioned the painting of the fair-haired, rosy-cheeked, chubby children for their father. According to her account book, Apphia paid artist John Hillman $18 for his work. The painting was donated to the DAR Museum by the great-granddaughter of Stephen Albert Parsons, Karen Reese.
American Spirit, Volume 141, Number 6, November/December 2007, Page 17
Photo by Mark Gulezian/QuickSilver