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Ruth Sears Bacon 
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford Connecticut 
Oil on canvas 
48 1/3 x 36 3/4 in. 
Gift of Mrs. Austin Cheney 
 Jpg: Friend of the JSS Gallery

From: a great grandson 
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 

"Ruth Sears Bacon was my great-grandmother. By the time I knew "Gagy" she was about 95 years old (she died when she was 102). Family lore has an interesting story around that picture. Apparently she was a willful little girl, and disappeared somewhere off to play when she was supposed to be getting ready for her sitting. When she was finally located, she was bundled up and plopped down onto a chair not yet properly dressed. As the family was trying to get her clothes, Sargent barked out "nobody move an inch- that's perfect" - hence the "short" dress showing leg, odd colours, etc."

"Who knows if it is true, but it's worth a chuckle.

From: Tim Smith
ts m
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005

I am yet another great-grandson of Ruth Sears Bacon.  The story that appears on your website is pretty similar to the story I heard as a child.  Some of the details may be different, but such is often the case with family lore.
I wanted to point out that "Mrs. Austin Cheney", the donor of the painting to the Wadsworth Atheneum, is, in fact, the subject of the piece: Ruth Sears Bacon Cheney.
I saw it at the Wadsworth several years ago when I lived in Connecticut, and I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see it in Portland, OR (the closest stop to my home) in the context of other similar pieces.
Tim Smith
San Francisco, CA



Great Expectations: John Singer Sargent Painting Children; 2004-2005



By:  Natasha Wallace
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