Friday, September 13, 2013

Two unusual portraits from United Kingdom. These were sold at auction. They are different because they are not profiles. Otherwise they match the pattern used by the other Wybrant images; girl holding flower and basket, boy holding hat.

They were dated Wybrant Artist 1854.  Again that date contradicts his being in the United States (in 1855). There are also paintings in Fehrens Art Gallery in Hull from the 1854-1855 time period.  I am not sure how to resolve the two locations. Either Wybrant painted in two places (meaning trips back and forth between U.S. and U.K.) or else he took paintings with him from the U.S. to the U.K.

The paintings in Fehrens Art Gallery were supposed to have been for a magazine, according to an email I received from them.

Speculation follows: It would make sense for him to collect travel paintings for a magazine. He could paint in the United States until 1855, and return to the United Kingdom with some of his works. 

1851 Maine

This painting was sold in an ebay auction in the United States. It has a date of 1851, putting Patrick Wybrant in the United States in 1851. He was also in the March 30, 1851 census in the United Kingdom. He must have visited the United States after March 1851.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1857 Hull

New (for me) on Ebay:
What is new for me in this picture is the direction the girl is facing. All the other paintings I have seen have had a subject facing to the left.

Wybrant, Artist
Hull, 1857

Friday, June 18, 2010

Biography of Patrick Wybrant, Artist and Miniature Painter

Patrick Wybrant was born about 1816 in Rothdrum, Wicklow, Ireland to James Wybrant and Sarah Doyle. He was one of four children, his siblings being Ann Wybrant, Jane Francis Wybrant, and Andrew Wybrant. Andrew and Jane moved to America. Source

Patrick moved to England and worked as a painter of miniatures (small portraits) for most of his life. He was registered in all the British censuses from 1851 through 1891. He consistently called himself an artist throughout his lifetime.

The earliest painting I know of for Wybrant is in the Wilberforce House Museum in Hull. I haven't viewed it yet, but from the description, it follows the pattern of Wybrant's other work, a portrait, signed and dated. The description is of "a watercolour portrait of a man with greying hair. He is wearing a cravat and jacket." There are two other paintings in Hull, at the Ferens Art Gallery. Both are portraits of working men, one a sweeper and the other a street vendor.

About 1852, the year his daughter Ann was born, Wybrant took a trip to the United States, staying there until about 1855. During that time he continued to paint miniatures for a living. He returned to England by 1856, when his son William was born, and there exist paintings in England dating from this year.

The following are the notes I took leading up to the above statements. While I cannot prove my statements beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is evidence supporting them. I have drawn on census records, a city directory, low resolution scans and descriptions of Wybrants paintings as my sources.


An example of his work from 1850:

This painting was discovered in the United Kingdom and predates Patrick Wybrant's trip to the United States. Compare it to the painting from 1857, the basket and flowers in hand. Wybrants used a formula with his work. Always profile, facing left. Often holding something, so as to have something to do with the hands. Sex appropriate object--flowers for girls, toys for boys, tools for men. Source.

In 1851, Patrick and his wife Mary Jane were listed as visitors in the household of Mary Rickinson, a shipowners wife in Whitby (in northeastern England). He was listed as "Artist (Painter)". He was 30 and she 23 with no children listed. Source--Subscription to needed to view.

Speculation: He had family in America and knew someone who owned a ship. What was to stop him from investigating America to see if he wanted to live there?

Year 1852:
"Portrait of a young man in a black jacket, 4 inch." Discovered in the United States. The auction house believed Wybrant to be an American artist of the 19th century. Source

"An American Gentleman" from a U.K. eBay listing. Discovered in the United Kingdom. The seller bought the painting with the name already applied to it. Too late to know now who decided that it is an American.

Year 1853:

Orbell Oakes.

Painting source for girl in straw hat, sold at auction in the U.S.:

Year 1855:

Mrs. Devoe. This painting was handed down in my family, who lived in New York, then Iowa, then Montana. The lady in the painting (we aren't sure which generation) may have grown up in Massachusetts, where another of Wybrant's paintings was discovered.

Year 1857:
This painting, found in England, has the same signature as the previous painting. The signatures were painted stylistically the same. Painting source. Address on the back reads 18 Chariot Street, Hull. This is simiar to the address listed in the 1857 North and East Riding Postal directory for Yorkshire (Ancestry subscription needed to access).

In the late 1850s, Wybrant returned to England. Many of the paintings sold at auction are sold in the U.K. Auctioneers have been labeling the subjects as Americans, or the paintings as in the American School. It is possible that some of these are in fact English, especially after 1855, the last firm date I have found for an American source of Wybrant's paintings.

There is some discrepancy/overlap with dates. Two paintings found in the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull are definitely English, and dated 1854 and 1855. At the same time, the painting I have listed under 1855, was an American woman who lived in New York, of an established family that wasn't likely to travel overseas.

Speculation: Patrick Wybrant returned to England in 1855; he may have kept some paintings to sell, as the painting labeled "Street Sweeper" in Hull is supposed to have been used in a magazine. Perhaps the painting was a travel painting brought back from America. The top has was as much in style there as in England.

Another discrepancy is the painting of Orbell Oakes. That 1853 painting was sold in England--was Orbell an American or a British subject. Did he meet Wybrant in the U.S.?

By 1861, Wybrant was living in Stockton on Tees in northeast England. He was making a living as an "Artist Miniature Painter" there when the census was taken. Looking at his children, we get a sense of how much he moved around, as well as possible dates for his trip to America. His daughter Ann was born in "Scarbro" (Scarborough) in 1852, the same year as the American paintings seem to have begun. His son William G. was born in 1856 in Hull. So from his children's birthplaces, Wybrant had 1852-1855/56 to paint in America. Source--subscription to needed.

In 1871, he and his family lived in Falsgrave, near Scarborough, in northeast England. He was still painting for a living, as he was listed as an "Artist". With him was his wife, Jane, and 3 children, William, Andrew and Mary. Source--subscription to needed.

He was still in Falsgrave in 1881, still with the same family members. Address was 9 Grove Terrace. Both he and his son William listed "artist" as their occupation. If they were doing miniatures, then later paintings will need to be examined to determine which Wybrant was the painter. He was 60 years old at the time of this census. Source:--subscription to needed.

In 1891, he was living with his daughter Mary and son-in-law George Crom, in their house in Wetherby. His wife was dead, and he was listed as "retired artist." His birthplace is listed as Wickow, Ireland. Source--subscription to needed.

If we take the earliest painting I've found reference to, 1849, to the last censuses he was listed as working, 1881, he was actively painting miniatures for at least 32 years. Most of his life was spent in the northeast of England, but there was a period of three years (1852-1855) spent in the United States, in Massachusetts or possibly New York (home of the woman he painted in 1855).

He did portraits--definitely for individuals. Possibly for magazines as a "jobber" or for his personal collection.

Patrick Wybrant died in late 1894 in Knaresborough, England. Source--Subscription to needed.

Painting on two sides of the Atlantic

Yesterday I found an online painting from 1857, in England, which I think closely resembles the one of my 4xGreat Grandmother. All of the Wybrant paintings share similar features, including being in profile, and having a white background. I was able to get a good look at the signatures and they look very close.

Wybrants 1855. Wybrants Artist 1857. These signatures are painted in the same style. They are both located on two different sides of the Atlantic, one in Montana (by way of Iowa and New York and maybe Massachussetts), the other in England. These signatures are the strongest evidence I have seen that the paintings in each country were painted by the same person.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Looking at the data

Some things became clear as I looked at the paintings I found.

There are patterns in the signatures:
1. Wybrants [Date]
2. Wybrants - Artist [Date]
3. Wybrant - Artist [Date]
The paintings were sold in both the United States and the United Kingdom. At least one painting sold in the U.K. is of an American.

Paintings sold in both countries had Wybrants and Wybrant as the name signed.

The dates on the paintings (found so far) run from 1852 to 1855.
Paintings sold in the U.S. date from 1852 into 1853, and one in 1855.

Paintings sold in the U.K. date from 1853 to 1855.
Paintings of the men, sold in both countries, bear strong resemblance.

One painting, sold in the U.K. named the artist as Patrick Wybrant. The seller had seen enough of the paintings to say that the painting was "signed with the artist's usual signature 'Wybrant Artist.'"

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eleanor D. Pancoast

I was hoping, when I searched for Eleanor D. Pancoast, to find out the origin of the painting in her possession. I hoped that I could find she came from somewhere on the east coast, where I might look for Wybrant. It turns out she was into antiques. From her obituary:

Following her marriage in 1978 to her
beloved husband, the late Bob
Pancoast, her talents shifted from the
selling of homes to the selling of
antiques and "worthy accessories".
Antique shows and later a seasonal
antique shop in the resort community
of Charlevoix, MI became the vehicles
in which to showcase her good taste
and talents. -- (page 18 or C4)
No wonder her family parted with the picture; it was part of her hobby or profession and not a family heirloom.