The great joy in my life is treasure hunting. Whether foraging at yard sales or visiting dainty antique stores, my heart races when I see something valuable in the thick of common stuff. Recently, I bought some pieces of early 1800s furniture – all were great items, but didn’t have the awe-inspiring appeal of the painting I saw at Antiques USA one day.
Set in a Victorian frame was the painting of a beautiful teenager that a master painter painted in the 1830s or 1840s. Her skin was alabaster white and she had haunting brown eyes. I turned the painting over and saw that it was mounted on a hand-hewn frame and was from New York City. I turned the painting back to look at her face.
A lot of times early paintings are of prominent men and women who have lost their youth and frankly, aren’t very attractive. This woman was stunning. She was elegant and filled with all the power and beauty of youth. It was marked “as is” because of a slight tear in the canvas. What was equally remarkable was the trail of ivy that was strewn along her gauze dress. It might have been the artistic signature of the artist.
The great thing about antiques is that the value sometimes isn’t what the world values, but the value that you place in something. I looked at this painting and thought it is amazing to think that this woman lived nearly two hundred years ago and although all her dreams and aspirations were now dust, I could look at this marvelous record of her life.