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late 19th c and into early 20th c., (15) total, artist Sarah Ray Bryant, daughter of Nelson Ray (born into slavery in 1820 - d. Placerville, CA 1882)
consisting of: a pair, husband and wife, both sgn. l.l.
Sarah Ray, 14 by 11 in., plastic frames (one broken); double portrait of two sisters in blue dresses, sgn. l.r. Sarah Ray, 8 by 10 in., framed; a pair, husband and wife, w/ paper remnants of family history on reverse This P(ainting) belongs to my sister Le...tiveing / Camill..../ and - Mother....Maiden name Tharin../Grand-Son Clarence/...?...; 8.5 by 6.5 in. (sight), Victorian oval frames; the largest, a portrait of seated child in white dress, sgn. l.r. Hazel Ray (prob. the sitter), 16 by 20 in. (sight), ornate Victorian gilt frame 31 by 27 in.; portrait of woman in blue jacket, 12 by 9 in., glued down, framed; portrait of woman in white dress, glued down, 12 by 9 in., framed; small oval portrait of girl, set in floral needlework, image 4 by 3.5 in. (sight), framed 13 by 10 in; girl in blue dress, gold earrings and necklace, 8 by 8 in. (sight), reverse painted mat, frame; miniature portrait, possibly same as previous sitter, 2.5 by 2.5 in., framed; pair of full-body portraits of gentleman in tux (glue stains, glass missing) and woman holding bouquet, possibly a bride and groom, 14 by 10 in., framed; portrait of woman in black dress with lace collar and gold necklace, 10 by 8 in., Victorian frame; miniature portrait, possibly same sitter as previous, 3 in. diam., framed
Originally in a descendant's home in Florida, found by real estate developers and sold, but unknown to whom. Eventually sold in a storage warehouse auction in Florida.
Nelson Ray was born into slavery in 1820. His owner, the widow of his original owner, stated in her will that upon her death, Nelson was to be given his freedom. However, the release from slavery did not include Nelson's wife and eight children who remained slaves. Nelson went West during the gold rush and had good fortune, making enough to return to buy his wife and three of his children (see advert he published in paper 1879). Tragically, his other children had been sold. Nelson returned to California with his family and settled in Placerville where he became a prominent citizen, a landlord and funded the construction of a library. Relentless, he was reunited with his children who still remained slaves, after the Emancipation.
An old note included with the watercolors "Estate of Sarah Moude Meyers-Williams/Wife was an Educator/Husband was physician/Her home was sold to developers who then sold entire collection. Pieces from this estate are from Old Florida. She collected art from U.S. Mexico and traveled to Europe many times."
Condition in text.
Estimate: $8,000 - $12,000
Realized: $60,000 - Excluding Buyer's Premium

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