Artist Signed Watercolor Painting Mourning Members of the Aldrich Family, c. 1850
Here is an astonishing memento mori from the mid-1800s. This is an original watercolor painting and pencil drawing depicting the graves of three members of the Aldrich family, visited by a lone, weeping mourner. Mourning artwork of this type was typical of the era, but is most often seen in print form; an original painting is more rare. This painting is artist signed, the signature appearing to be that of an R.S. Bellome, or like-spelled name.
This painting seems to specifically mourn the passing of a mother. The bottom of the painting features a beautiful mourning poem that appears to be an original. It reads:
My mother I bend me o'er thy pallid form, A spell steals o'er my soul; I scarce can think that thou art gone Yet tears unbidden roll.
I hardly thought of thee as one, Whom Death would make his prize, I never dared anticipate, What now I realize.
I could not think that eye would close, Its orb no more to move; That tongue be sealed no more to speak, Thy fond, maternal love.
The three graves are dedicated to the sacred memory of Mrs. Mary Aldrich, who died December 6th, 1839, aged 56 years, Mr. Richard Aldrich, who died January 21, 1841, aged 49 years, and Susan Fenner Aldrich, who died October 25, 1843, aged 26 years.
This one of a kind work is housed in a gold painted wood frame. Please note that the original wood backing to the frame is missing, and has been replaced by a plastic and cardboard backing. The frame bears significant paint loss and wear. The painting itself appears to be in very good condition, with minor signs of age including light damage, staining, and fading.