Schoolgirl memorial featuring a woman in a white dress standing under a large weeping willow tree next to a monument that is inscribed: “To the Memory of Mr. Nathaniel Nason, Obit March 18th, 1803, AE 25. This Monument is inscribed by his afflicted Sister, Elizabeth Nason.”
Watercolor on paper.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1803 – 1815.
Held in a replaced period molded and painted frame.
Provenance: This finely painted schoolgirl watercolor memorial is attributed to Elizabeth Nason (b.ca.1777) of South Berwick, Maine, created as a memorial of her brother, Nathaniel Nason (ca.1778-1803). It was likely created in a Female Academy in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire area. Elizabeth Nason and her brother Nathaniel Nason were the children of Bartholomew Nason I (1757-1822) and Elizabeth Hooten (1757-1821), also of South Berwick. Bartholomew Nason I was a soldier in the Revolutionary War and served in the Continental Army at Fishkill, New York in 1778. He enlisted in Dorchester, Massachusetts and was received by Major Stephen Badlam for a term of nine months. Bartholomew Nason I was listed as a “husbandman” at the time of his enlistment, but was later identified as a merchant. The Nason family in southern Maine descended from Richard Nason (1606-1696) who settled in Kittery, Maine and took the oath of allegiance to the Massachusetts government in 1654. The Nason family spread throughout the area, including South Berwick, Maine and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The memorial to Nathaniel Nason is closely related to a watercolor memorial created for Elias Tarlton II (ca.1771-1815) of New Castel, New Hampshire. The town of New Castle is a group of islands located adjacent to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The image of the well-developed city shown on the banks of a wide river is appropriate to the landscape of Portsmouth in the early 19th century and suggests an origin of both watercolors.