Majorie Wilkey’s mother and grandmother

Professionally trained, Sarah Eddy was an artist well into her 90’s. Painter, sculptor, master photographer. She was listed as a “painter of pictures” in the Providence census. As a pioneering woman photographer, Sarah exhibited in Paris and London as well as major exhibits in the US. Her images are in the collection of the Library of Congress. Her art was part of every cause worked for – as prizes, for fundraising, as a way of bringing beauty into the world. She was a master arts educator. She brought artists to Bristol Ferry, and encouraged amateurs. Sarah and her students went out painting with smocks and berets.

Sarah paid for the construction of an addition to the Portsmouth Free Public Library which would be a place to exhibit art in Portsmouth. The public library has a lovely landscape with sheep in the Reference Room that is attributed to Sarah and they have some of her sculptures in the Children’s Room.  It is fitting that the Portsmouth Free Public Library is a gallery space for special exhibits today.

Sarah never took any payment for her photos or paintings. She delighted in photographing and painting her neighbors in Bristol Ferry. What is in your attic? Could you have some of her artwork? After her death in 1945 there was a yard sale at her home.  Some items have surfaced at antique stores and in private collections. We know that Sarah gave artwork to church guilds and that a church in Tiverton has one of her bronze sculptures.  Marjorie Wilkey has shared some precious family portraits with us.  Her mother and grandmother were photographed and a sketch of them seems to be a “mother and child” image that was common in her work.  The Wilkey family allowed me to scan a glass plate that includes members of their family.  Mothers and children were her favorite subjects.  Let us know if you have some of Sarah’s artwork as part of your family treasures.

Sarah Eddy photograph of Portsmouth children.