1847 Calligraphic Ink and Graphite Drawing with Swans and Floating Eye, Plus Two Accompanying Love Letters

Regular price $200.00

This I found in New Hampshire this week, and it is not just the sort of thing I love, but also the sort of thing that provokes a sense of responsibility in me to be its steward. The curious drawing itself, ink and graphite, appears to have been done on paper that was folded into a letter--and though I haven't removed it from the frame I'd be willing to bet it matches that of the two love letters tucked into a pocket on the back of the frame.

Those letters are dated 1847 and were written from a Morgan W. Brown to an Emily Hedenberg in St. Louis, MO ("and nobody else!"), who writes of kissing her miniature (I presume a miniature painting of her) which he also describes showing to a number of his relations to great approval. ("Time and space does only add to the veneration I hold my dear to you and you alone… if I should have the misfortune to sink to the bottom of a lake or river before I see thee again, remember that the king and your miniature go with me…") He describes his travels from the West to New England to as far north as Niagara Falls, conducting business of some sort--whether at all dangerous it is hard to know, but he speaks often of the possibility of death, both his own and hers. ("I have got some verses written out to you to put on your tomb stone if you die before I get back…I never forget thee not even beyond the grave, I follow thee there….)  On and on, very early Victorian in sensibility, with notes to please keep the letters confidential, and to forget him if he dies, and also lots of logistics as to have long it takes a letter to get from one location to another. etc. etc., Signed "your affectionate lover, Morgan." 

The drawing itself is curious, with this wide open eye floating at top, a little like an all seeing Masonic one but seeming more like a vision of Emily's own. And then these swans, lovers for life, at center--surely meant to represent Emily and Morgan. Surrounded by what seem more or less like doodles, that also seem almost like a secret symbolic language, and lots of calligraphic flourishes! In a nice gold gessoed period frame; my guess is someone not all that long ago, perhaps a descendant of one of the two, found or inherited the letters, the drawing among them, and had them properly framed together--lovers forever!

11 18 x 9 1/8” framed; 7 1/4 x 4 1/4” sight. All in very good condition.