CHAIN BRIDGE PENCIL SKETCH

$175.00 SOLD

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Item Code: 490-6211

This is one two pencil sketches by the same hand showing scenes around Washington during the Civil War. Both were recently matted and framed, with the frame measuring 17 ¾” x 14 ¾” and the sketch 9 ½” x 7 ½” and both bear on the reverse copies of a modern note reading: “Seymour O. Cook went out as a musician a while in the civil war, and sent these drawings for friendship’s sake. Some artist friend of his drew them and he sent them to Leonard Redfield. They are southern view, but should have written on, but are just as they came.”

The writer of the note clearly refers to Seymour O. Cook who served as a musician in the 3rd Vermont, enlisting 6/1/61, mustering in 7/16/61, and being discharged for disability 6/18/62. He enlisted again 8/18/63, mustered into Co. B of the 7th Vermont 10/9/63 and was promoted Principal Musician 11/1/64, serving until muster out 8/29/65. The 7th VT was a deep south regiment. The 3rd did serve early in the war around Washington, so there is nothing inherently improbable in him obtaining a drawings of scenes around Washington at the time.

This sketch was clearly based on a photograph taken about 1862 of a gun emplacement placed at the end of the “Chain Bridge,” crossing the Potomac and about three miles upstream from Georgetown. The photo may be seen on p.275 of Volume 3 of the Image of War, published in 1982. Their photo credit is to the Library of Congress, who date the print to 1880-1889. Their dating is not infallible, and we do not know if there were other prints in circulation earlier or if it was the basis for a period woodcut or contemporary illustration. We note, however, the details of the bridge structure are not evident in that image, but are clearly visible in other photos shown in the same volume, and the sketch would seem to be a combination of two images. (And we wonder about the other image with the same attribution as well.) In short, we don’t feel we can date the drawings, though they may have come out of the Redfield family with an attribution to Cook.   [sr][ph:L]

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