Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Otis and Child

Joseph H. Davis (1811–1865)
Watercolor, gum arabic, and graphite on off-white wove paper
10 3/4 x 16 5/8 in. (27.3 x 42.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1972
Accession Number:
Not on view
Between 1832 and 1838 Davis traveled in western Maine and eastern New Hampshire painting family portraits. Little is known of his life, but a majority of scholars believe that he may have been the "Pine Hill Joe" Davis of Newfield, Maine, who executed more than 160 watercolor portraits or family records. In the present work, an elaborately penned inscription reveals that the man at left is Daniel Otis, aged forty-six; the woman is Betsy Otis, aged forty; and the child is Polly Otis, aged seven months. The most obvious individualizing touch in the portrait is Daniel Otis's newspaper, the Great-Falls Journal, which was issued between 1832 and 1836 in Great Falls, a mill town in southeastern New Hampshire, about twenty miles northeast of Portsmouth.
Inscription: [at lower left]: Daniel Otis. Aged '46./ years./ 1834; [at lower center]: Polly Otis aged 7 months/ 1834; [at lower right]: Betsy Otis Aged 40 - / years/ - 1834.
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