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Celia Laighton Thaxter (American, 1835-1894) Oil Lamp with an Olive Branch (Olea) Motif

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American & European Works of Art - 2340
Date / Time :
November 17, 2006 4:00PM


Celia Laighton Thaxter (American, 1835-1894)

Oil Lamp with an Olive Branch (Olea) Motif
Painted ceramic presented on metal lamp base, height 7 in. (17.8 cm).
Condition: Craquelure, surface grime, minor imperfections to glaze.
Provenance: Descended through the family of the artist.
Exhibitions: One Woman's Work: The Visual Art of Celia Laighton Thaxter, The Portsmouth Athenaeum, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, June 29, 2001 - September 29, 2001.
N.B. Celia Laighton Thaxter was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 1835 and grew up on the Isles of Shoals. Her life and career remains closely tied to the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. Arguably one of the most popular female writers of late 19th century America, Thaxter's circle of friends included many literary and artistic talents of the day, including Childe Hassam, James T. Fields, and John Greenleaf Whittier. Inspired by both the natural beauty of her surroundings and the creative genius of her friends and colleagues, Thaxter began to express herself through painting, also often working with ceramics and decorative objects. The "grace, form and subtle color" of an olive branch made it one of Thaxter's favorite subjects and she often used it as theme in her paintings.(i) The inscription on this work, which is included in all of Thaxter's olive branch paintings, is a quote from Sophocles which Thaxter translates in a letter to her friend Annie Field dated 1881, "…my olive tress are the special care of Zeus, 'watched by the eye of olive-guarding Jove and by gray-eyed Athena.'" (ii) I Stephan, Sharon Paiva. One Woman's Work, The Visual Art of Celia Laighton Thaxter (Portsmouth, NH: Peter E. Randall, 2001). II Annie Fields and Rose Lamb, eds. Letters of Celia Thaxter (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1895), 125.
Estimate $7,000-9,000


Celia Laighton Thaxter, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Olive Branch (Olea), metal lamp base, Portsmouth Athenaeum, Isles of Shoals, N.B. Celia Laighton Thaxter, Maine, Childe Hassam, James T. Fields, John Greenleaf Whittier, Annie Field, Sharon Paiva, Peter E. Randall, Rose Lamb, Annie Fields, Celia Thaxter, Celia, New England, Northeastern United States, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, States of the United States, United States