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Alfred Ward (born ca1847)

[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

WARD, Alfred [flourished 1873-1927]

“Mr Bedwell” / Portrait of Francis Benjamin Bedwell

gouache on panel / 4.3 inches by 3.1 inches

1918

“Mrs Bedwell” / Portrait of Sarah Woodyear Percival Bedwell

gouache on panel / 4.3 inches by 3.1 inches

1918

The provenance of these two delightful Georgian miniatures is complex to the point of obfuscation. The subjects are of the related Bedwell and Percival families, with trading connections in St Kitts, West Indies. Indeed, Mrs Bedwell was born on the island. Oral tradition in the Tennant family holds that the Percivals used the services of Gaudeamus Tennant and that the families may have been related by marriage; no evidence supporting such a connection has been found. The portraits themselves, however, date from a much later period—1918—than the lives of Mr and Mrs Bedwell:

  • Francis Benjamin BEDWELL (1776-1835)
  • Sarah Woodyear Percival BEDWELL (1779-1835)

She died 23 July and he on 31 October of the same year.

These were painted by artist Alfred Ward from photographs of earlier drawings (attested by labels on the reverse). Ward lived and worked in London and is known to have exhibited at the Royal Academy, as well as Grosvenor Gallery between 1873 and 1915. He was also a member of the Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street and showed paintings there until 1927. Martha Tennant purchased these works, intended as a birthday gift which her husband Augustus James Tennant never received. They were given in 2018 as a memorial on the centennial of his death.

 


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