JONATHAN BUDINGTON (1779?–1823)
Portrait of the Cannon Children,1795
Oil on canvas, 45 7/8 x 36 1/8 in.
Dated (twice, at lower left): 795 1795
EX COLL.: John Cannon (b. 1752), Norwalk, Connecticut; to his daughter, Antoinette Cannon (Mrs. Thaddeus) Betts (1789–1864), Norwalk, Connecticut; to her son, Charles O. C. Betts, Connecticut; and by descent in the Betts family, until the present
This extraordinary double portrait of two children of the Cannon family of Norwalk, Connecticut, is a recently discovered painting by the Connecticut folk artist Jonathan Budington. Never before seen in public, Portrait of the Cannon Children has remained in the family of the sitters until the present day.
In addition to Portrait of the Cannon Children and View of Cannon House and Wharf, there are only eight portraits either known to be by Budington or convincingly attributed to his hand. These include George Eliot and Family (signed and dated “79[?]”; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut); Mercy Merwyn Todd and Eli Merwyn Todd (each about 1796–98, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia); Little Girl with Kitten (signed and dated 1800; private collection); Father and Son (signed and dated 1800; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.); Child of the Hubbell Family (about 1800, American Folk Art Museum, New York); and John Nichols and Mary Hill Nichols (each signed and dated 1802; Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford). There is another portrait, Brother and Sister in White Dresses (about 1800, The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia) that has been thought to be the work of Budington, but stylistically it differs significantly from the other works and its attribution to Budington remains speculative.