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painter. His use of prominent, wellexecuted inscriptions and printed titles on books in his paintings suggests that sign painting was probably an additional source of income, as well. Smith's known portraits were painted over a period of only eight years. Although he continued to employ the same stylistic characteristics described above, a certain degree of change is apparent. His earlier works are flatter, with shadowing more prominent along the line of the nose, while the later ones demonstrate a greater facility in the depiction of form and structure. There is nothing to indicate that Royall Brewster Smith had any formal training in the arts. Since he lived in and around Buxton, Maine for a number of years he probably was familiar with the work of the well-known painter, John Brewster who painted many portraits in Buxton and nearby towns. John Brewster lived for a time in Buxton with his brother Dr. Royal Brewster, family physician to the Smiths and after whom the younger artist was likely named. Therefore it is even possible that he knew John Brewster, although the latter was 35 years his senior.' However, there is nothing to suggest any influence from the older painter. On the other hand, Royall Brewster Smith apparently had a very strong influence on another Maine limner, Jona Treadwell. Treadwell's seven known portraits, painted between 1838 50

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Miriam Small; Attributed to Royal! Brewster Smith; Circa 1830; Oil on canvas; 32 x 25"; Private collection. Pencil inscription on stretcher: "MISS SMALL, FROM STANDISH MAINE/ PAINTED 1830' Ink inscription on paper label attached to stretcher; MISS SMALLI STANDISH MAINEI PAINTED 1830' Both inscriptions are said to have been made by a previous owner, the noted artist, Robert Laurent. In contrast to most ofSmith's adultfemales, this subject turns toward her right. She has a heavy shadow along the line ofher nose, has a bulbous hand which holds aflower, wears a hoop earring, as does the "Becker" woman whom she resembles, sits on a sofa with large-headed upholstery nails and there is a drape in the upper right corner. Although the sofa is not grained, the large comb perched on top ofher head is.f8

and 1851 in Buxton, North Wayne, Readfield and Fairfield, demonstrate the same type of body positioning, bulbous hands and off-center nose with heavy shadowing along its line. In addition to portraits, Smith also made family records. The first, probably executed in late 1826 or early 1827, was for the family of Robert and Mary Davis of South Limington. Five separate sheets recorded, respectively, the births of the parents, their first four children, the next five children, the last four children and, finally, the deaths of Robert Davis and his youngest child, Dorcas. Attribution of this family record to Royall Brewster Smith is based on the first sheet for the group which bears the large printed initials "R.B.S." The fact that Robert Davis was first cousin of the Mary Davis who married Royall's older brother, Alexander' supports this conclusion. A second record for his own family째 includes the names, dates and places of birth of his parents, their marriage date and the dates of birth of their children. Royall Brewster Smith was the 11th of 14 children of John McCurdy and Elizabeth McLellan Smith.' He and his sister, Margaret, were baptized December 14, 1801 in Buxton's Church of Christ.' In September 1817, the sheriff successfully brought legal action to obtain the farm owned by the Smiths. Two years later the property was taken over'; where the destitute family then lived is not known. John McCurdy

Smith had served in the Continental Army from June 4, 1778 to March 6, 1779 and in his 1818 application for a pension he stated "...am in reduced circumstances in life and in need of a pension from my country for support... Real estate, none, personal estate, none, no income, no money due me, am supported by charity:' The application lists his wife and six of his children as residing with him; Royall, who was then 17 years of age, is not included.' In September 1820 the selectmen of Buxton declared that "in their judgement John Smith of said Buxton does by excessive drinking and idleness so spend, waste and lessen his estate as thereby to expose himself and family to want and suffering circumstances; and does also thereby endanger and expose the said town of Buxton to a charge or expense for his and their maintenance and support:" One month later the Court of Probate appointed Theodore Elwell guardian of"John Smith of said Buxton a spendthrift:"째 Elwell's subsequent report of expenses incurred as Smith's guardian includes the item of April 9, 1821 for twenty dollars paid to T.& T.S. Robie for goods delivered to Mrs. Edwards who was boarding Smith for ten weeks at two dollars per week." In May 1821, Elizabeth McLellan Smith left her husband and moved with her younger children, including Royall, from Buxton to Limington" where her son Alexander had apparently found employment. A report of expenses by Benjamin Leavitt, then the elder Smith's guardian," includes the following interesting item of October 11, 1821 "Dr. Royal Brewster's bill for doctering (sic) the said Smith's family... $54.37:'' Also on October 11 is the record of payment of thirty dollars to Eunice Edwards for John Smith's board. Eunice Edwards, undoubtedly the Mrs. Edwards with whom he boarded earlier that year, was his oldest child, who had married John Edwards." A final entry on this same date is the record of payment of seventeen dollars to Alexander Smith for boarding his younger brother, Royall,"a sick boy child of the said J. Smith:"째 At this time Royall was twenty years of age. Leavitt's second report to the Probate Court of expenses incurred as John Smith's The Clarion

The Clarion (Spring 1988)  

American Folk Art in Corporate Collections • Painted by Royall B. Smith • The Art and Times of Victor Joseph Gatto • Cyril I. Nelson: A Spec...

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