The Subject of a 181-Year-Old Portrait by American Folk Artist Ammi Phillips has been Identified by Connecticut House Histories, LLC, Based in Fairfield, Connecticut

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At the time Ammi Phillips painted her, he was in the midst of his "Kent Period," which spanned from 1829 to 1838, based on the groundbreaking research done by Barbara and Lawrence Holdridge, who compiled their investigation into the artist in the book, "Ammi Phillips Portrait Painter, 1788 - 1865" published in 1968.

"An unidentified Ammi Phillips portrait has been identified by Connecticut House Histories"

The subject of a 181-year-old portrait by American folk artist Ammi Phillips has been identified by Connecticut House Histories, LLC, a genealogical research firm based in Fairfield, Conn.

After more than a year of exhaustive research, CTHH confirmed the identity of the sitter in the circa 1836 painting to be Myra Ann Raymond Haxtun Wheeler, the daughter of a prominent family in Kent, Conn.

At the time Ammi Phillips painted her, he was in the midst of his "Kent Period," which spanned from 1829 - 1838, based on the groundbreaking research done by Barbara and Lawrence Holdridge, who compiled their investigation into the artist in the book "Ammi Phillips Portrait Painter, 1788 - 1865" published in 1968.

In addition to the portrait's identification, CTHH discovered an 1842 lease agreement Phillips signed for the use of a "public house" located in South Kent in the Connecticut community. Phillips had an option to renew the lease for up to three years, which could have extended his "Kent Period" to 1845.

"Finding the 1842 lease agreement was an exciting discovery on many fronts," Melanie Beal Marks, founder of CTHH and principal researcher, said, "but, specifically, it physically put Ammi Phillips in Kent, Connecticut. Because of this document, it led us to look at other land records more closely in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts.

"Locating the lease agreement also made us question how many more important documents regarding Ammi are just waiting to be found. Knowing his whereabouts at any given time helps us to search numerous repositories to find more information about him and his work. We are always thinking outside the box when it comes to where to go and look, which has made us successful."

CTHH's final report, which included numerous vital records and other documentation proving the portrait's identity, was provided to Sotheby's, from where the current owners purchased the painting in 2007 for $264,000 at an auction.

The portrait of Myra Ann Raymond Haxtun Wheeler was owned by members of the Raymond family and their descendants through 1941, according to CTHH's provenance.

Myra Ann Raymond Haxtun Wheeler was 18 years old when her portrait was painted by the itinerant artist. She first was married to Andrew B. Haxtun, a broker and real estate owner in Brooklyn, N.Y., then to David E. Wheeler, a prominent attorney in Brooklyn. Myra Ann Raymond Haxtun Wheeler died in 1886 at the age of 68.

Connecticut House Histories, LLC, uses a team of historic research consultants who have decades-worth of experience in researching genealogy, historic homes and properties. The consultants have extensive experience helping clients in Connecticut and New York trace the pasts of their families and homes, but frequently work with people from around the country. For more information, visit cthousehistories.com.

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Melanie Marks
CT House Histories, LLC
+1 (203) 856-6270
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