Eckardt, Otto - portrait of Jane Spottswood Keller
This miniature is signed inside "Painted by Otto E Eckardt, Dresden, 1901" and identified as "Jane Spottswood Keller aged 7 years". As with other portraits by Otto Eckardt in the collection, it is believed the portrait was painted in Germany, as a copy of a photograph sent to Germany from the United States.
Jane Spottswood Keller was born 10 Mar 1893, the daughter of David Alexander Keller and Alice Cooke who married in 1883. The family was wealthy and in the 1900 census, Jane had her own governess. She was a second cousin of of the famous blind and death author, Helen Keller (1880-1968) who wrote "The Story of My Life". Jane's mother, Alice was the daughter of Lyttleton Cooke, a lawyer and a highly respected member of the Kentucky bar, see Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky, by H. Levin, editor, 1897 ...
Jane Keller married George Danforth Caldwell, a lawyer, on 5 May 1918 and they had one son, David Keller Caldwell who was born in 1928. He wrote a book about dolphins, see 0397007345: The world of the bottlenosed dolphin by David Keller ...
The miniature of Jane was purchased as a single lot containing four miniatures, all shown here. (Also shown below to assist family researchers, are two more miniatures from the same family, but that went to a different buyer.) They all came from the collection of G. Vernon Diab of Louisville, Kentucky.
One of the other miniatures in the lot, the man with grey hair and a moustache is identified on a tag as David Keller Caldwell and painted by John Ramsier (1861-1936). However, David Keller Caldwell was born in 1928 and hence the clothing does not look right for the 20C. It is signed with initials "K D A", but the full name of the artist has not been determined.
It seems more likely the miniature is of a different family member, perhaps Jane's father David Alexander Keller (27 Jul 1853 - 24 May 1926). David was a cousin of Helen Keller (1880-1968). Like Helen Keller, David Keller was obviously also a strong minded person, as in the 1900 census he described his occupation as "capitalist". However, he also appears to have been a founder of the Louisville YMCA.
By comparison, the miniature here of a bald man that does look like a photo, although unsigned is confidently attributed as painted by John Ramsier. It is of Hon James Guthrie, who was the great-grandfather of Jane's husband, George Danforth Caldwell. Guthrie had a number of political positions, including Secretary to the Treasury. For much more about this portrait, see Ramsier, John - portrait of Hon James Guthrie
The fourth miniature (possibly an over-painted photograph) of a man with both a moustache and beard is of John F Henry (22 Jun 1839-1899) a Confederate veteran who married Mary Churchill Richardson 30 Sep 1869. He has been identified as John Flournoy Henry, son of a Kentucky congressman (1827-1829) of the same name. John Flournoy Henry junior wrote a book entitled "A History of the Henry Family From its Beginning in this Country to the Present Time" which was published in 1900, just after his death.
As a Civil War soldier, he had joined Lieutenant Colonel Tom Woodward's Second Kentucky Regiment of Cavalry, attached to General Bedford Forrest's Brigade. He was actively engaged in the Tennessee campaigns, and participated in the hard-fought battles of Chickamauga, Farmington, Maryville, Resaca, as well as those of Kennesaw Mountain, Saltville, and Bentonville. He was severely wounded at Farmington, October 7, 1863, just subsequent to Chickamauga, through which desperate fight he had passed unharmed. Returning to his command, he was unexpectedly, and wholly without his solicitation, promoted, by general brigade orders, to official rank in the commissary department, but so averse was he to leaving the field of active service that he procured a reversal of the order and remained throughout the struggle a private soldier.
Henry became engaged with an extensive cotton firm of Charleston, Savannah, and Augusta in collecting, rebaling, and shipping cotton from the interior to the coast. From this he was called to a position of responsibility in a cotton bagging and baling rope manufacturing establishment in Louisville, where he took up his residence November 1, 1865. He became a member of the firm January 1, 1869, but in 1873 its factory was burned. After closing its large business in 1874, Mr. Henry formed a partnership, establishing the firm of Patterson, Henry & Co., which for more than seventeen years ranked among the first pork-packing and provision houses in its section. Early in 1892, having been chosen Second Vice-President and Trust Officer of The Louisville Trust Co., he abandoned commercial pursuits and devoted himself to the affairs of that large financial institution, of which he became the vice-president.
The sale included a number of other miniatures from the Diab collection and the pair of miniatures of two men represent a sad side effect of an auction, when a family is split up and sold as different lots.
The portraits of two men in the auction were identified as on the left Edward Sheggog, painted in March 1839 at Philadelphia by Mrs A C Staughton (Anna Claypoole Peale) and on the right Alexander Moore Keller by John Ramsier. Unfortunately they sold well above estimate to another bidder ($3220 compared to $500-$700) and thus could not remain with the portraits of Jane Keller and her other family members.
Research has identified Alexander Spottswood Moore Keller (14 Nov 1813-3 Mar 1857) as the grandfather of Jane. He married Jane Elizabeth Sheggog (1819-1865) and so it seems likely that Edward Sheggog was either Jane's great-grandfather or a great-uncle.
All the miniatures were accompanied by tags with their names on, possibly written by G Vernon Diab, but it does seem there may have been a mix up with some of the names. The younger portrait of Alexander Moore Keller does not look like the work of John Ramsier (1861-1936), who was not active at the time it was painted. However, it is possible that it is a copy by John Ramsier of a portrait by another artist. Perhaps more likely is that the wrong miniature was attributed to John Ramsier when the tags were written. 1253, 1254, 1255, 1256
Posted by Don Shelton at 3:19 PM