It’s the final two days to see the Portsmouth Athenaeum’s exhibition Painting Portsmouth’s Notables: 1750-1850. Three new faces joined the notables at the half-way point of the exhibition with a special loan from the Newington Historical Society’s Old Parsonage House, after the house closed for the season. The Newington Historical Society owns four portraits of the Orr family of Newington, attributed to the NH artist Albert Gallatin Hoit. Two of them joined the notables in the Randall Gallery. Also, a portrait by Portsmouth artist George Dame of Nathaniel Appleton Haven Sr., signed and dated 1810, seated at a table with his books and papers, joined other portraits by Dame.
Research by Sandra Rux, assisted by Judy Groppa, on the Orr family determined that it was likely that the portraits attributed to Hoit were of David Orr and his wife Mary Bacon Orr and two of their daughters, Ann Orr and either Margaret or Helen Orr. The two daughters, Ann and either Margaret or Helen, now sit next to Albert Gallatin Hoit’s portrait of Alexander Ladd in the Randall Gallery.
David Orr was listed variously as a cabinet maker and organ builder, who was born in Scotland in 1788 and moved to Boston in 1817. The portraits were likely painted in Boston before 1847, the year that a farm was purchased in Newington from Frederick William DeRochemont by Mary Bacon Orr and the family moved to NH. The farm remained in the family until 1952. We also know that Hoit was in Europe until 1844 when he returned to Boston and continued to paint portraits until his death in 1856.
The exhibition continues through Saturday, November 3.
The Randall Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m. this Friday for Art ‘Round Town.