Signed and dated, lower left: Cecilia Beaux / 89; label on bottom verso of original frame: WILLIAN FARREN and SON / Printsellers and Publishers / Carvers, Gilders and Frame Makers / 14, KINGS PARADE, CAMBRIDGE; inscribed, in graphite, by former owner Cecily Darwin Littleton on brown paper gum tape on frame backing: The portrait of Lady Darwin (née Maud DuPuy, of 4102 or 4201 Spruce St, Philadelphia, Pa, in 1883 or so) by her aunt[sic] Cecilia Beaux, in 1893?[sic], in Cambridge, England. / She lived at Newnham Grange, Cambridge, now Darwin College, on Silver Street. They have a black and white copy, as has the Pa Academy of Fine Arts in their files. Two photographs in color were made in 1965, one belongs to Mrs. Laurens Rhinelander, Charlottesville, Va., Lady Darwin’s niece. The other to G.P. Darwin, Esq., London, her grandson.
In this, one of Cecilia Beaux’s earliest forays into the pastel medium, she drew an old friend from Philadelphia, Martha “Maud” DuPuy Darwin, in the sitter’s garden in Cambridge, England. Five years previously, Maud had married George Darwin, a Trinity College professor of astronomy and second son of the famed naturalist, Charles. Soon after this summer visit, Beaux returned home to Philadelphia, concluding a nearly two-year stay of study and travel abroad. Beaux’s time in Cambridge proved pivotal. Her experience creating pastel and oil likenesses of the Darwins and their circle put her “in raptures over pastel,” a medium that ideally suited the more expressive handling and brighter colors that she had adopted abroad. Here she used confident, energetic strokes to describe the flounces of Maud’s muslin costume, while she applied controlled, artfully blended touches of pastel to render her delicate features, flawless complexion, and “grand braids of golden hair.” Maud Darwin’s alert, assessing gaze would seem to express her ease with her new, elevated station in British society, as well as her affection for the artist, her longtime friend.
From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art
American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-January 20, 2020.
Cecilia Beaux and the Art of Portraiture, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, October 6, 1995–January 28, 1996, no. 9; catalogue by Tara Lee Tappart, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, ill.in color, plate 5, and b/w p. 25.
Cecilia Beaux, American Figure Painter, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, May 12–Sept. 9, 2007; Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, Sept. 29, 2007–January 6, 2008; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Penn., Feb. 2–April 13, 2008, no. 31, catalogue by Sylvia Yount, et al. Atlanta: High Museum and Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, ill. in color p. 123.
Embracing Elegance, 1885-1920: American Art from the Huber Family Collection. Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 1–September 4, 2011, and at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, September 24–November 27, 2011, no. 1.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, The Paintings and Drawings of Cecilia Beaux. Philadelphia, 1955, p. 39 (not ill.).
Edited by Barbara J. MacAdam, with contributions by Stephanie Mayer Heydt, Susan G. Larkin, and Barbara J. MacAdam, Embracing Elegance, 1885-1920 American Art from the Huber Family Collection, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art and Atlanta: High Museum of Art, p. 25, 26, ill. in color, 33 and on cover.
Alice A. Carter, Cecilia Beaux: A Modern Painter in the Gilded Age. New York: Rizzoli, 2005, ill in color 99, 101–2, 195–96.
John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 128, ill. plate no. 59.
Susan J. Rawles, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman: The Franco-American Experience, 1870-1914", in Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France, Denver: Denver Art Museum and Yale University Press, 2021, pp. 147-185, ill. p. 176, fig. 29.
The sitter, Maud DuPuy Darwin (1861-1947), Newnham Grange, Cambridge, England; bequeathed to her son Sir Charles G. Darwin (1887-1962), Newnham Grange, Cambridge, England, about 1947; to Cecily Darwin Littleton (b. 1926), Haverford, Pennsylvania, in 1964; sold to John L. and Russell Huber, Atlanta, Georgia, 2001; given to present collection, 2015.