Portrait of Three Girls
Sturtevant J. Hamblin, American, 1817 - 1884
This tender portrait of three sisters is one of two almost identical paintings of siblings attributed to Hamblin, a Boston-based itinerant artist. Despite the similarity of costume and pose in the two canvases, the sensitive modeling and details of the girls' faces provide each with individual character and expression. The gentle way in which the girls share a book hints at their closeness, while the pendant worn by the sister to the left suggests that they may be in mourning. It is unclear whether the tulips on the left are drooping (enhancing the sense of mourning) or beginning to blossom (alluding to a girl's development into womanhood).