Judge Ebenezer (1740-1829) and Eunice Huntington (1743-1827) Devotion, Scotland, Connecticut
Eunice Devotion Waldo (1770-1854), daughter
George Waldo (1816-1886), son
Margaret Waldo (1816-1886), daughter
Margaret Bowers (1886-1972), daughter
Paul Bowers (1914-1975), son
Thence by descent to current owner
The Devotion Family of Scotland, Connecticut
The Devotion family of Windham and present day Scotland, Connecticut have been the subject of much scholarly attention and study because of the survival of a rich trove of written and artifactural documents that shed insight into the lives of three generations of this family in eastern Connecticut in the decades preceding and following the American Revolution. Much of this material heritage was brought together in an exhibition and accompanying catalog in 1991 at the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London, Connecticut. See Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, eds., The Devotion Family: The Lives and Possessions of Three Generations in Eighteenth Century Connecticut (New London, Connecticut, 1991). The exhibition grew out of the initial idea of reuniting a remarkable group of seven Devotion family portraits executed on the eve of the Revolution by Winthrop Chandler (1747-1790).
Chandler was born and lived for most of his life in Woodstock, Connecticut, located in the northeast corner of this former colony and state. Pursuing an artisan's career as a house- and what Nina Fletcher Little has called a "general fancy painter", he began to paint portraits of his family and neighbors in Woodstock and the nearby communities of Brooklyn, Windham and Norwich, Connecticut. The Devotion family of Scotland, Connecticut were an important early commission for Chandler in 1770 as the Reverand Ebenezer Devotion and his wife, Martha Lathrop Devotion were prominent figures in the community. Two years later, Chandler painted five more portraits of Rev. Devotion's son, Judge Ebenezer Devotion (fig. 1), his wife Eunice Huntington Devotion and their daughter Eunice, and their three sons, Ebenezer, Jr., John and Jonathan. This important group of portraits had been separated over the years with Rev. and Mrs. Devotion ending up in the Brookline Historical Society, Brookline, Massachusetts; Judge Ebenezer Devotion in the Scotland Historical Society; Mrs. Eunice Huntington Devotion in the Lyman Allyn Museum; and Ebenezer, Jr., John and Jonathan in the possession of family descendants (the latter portrait, lot 444).
It was the Devotion family portraits that enabled Nina Fletcher Little to confirm the identity of Winthrop Chandler and attribute other examples of his work as the 1829 will of Ebenezer Devotion, Jr. refers specifically to "the seven family pictures painted by Chandler." As Little has pointed out, it is ironic that Chandler, who struggled financially throughout his life, is today considered one of the most important provincial American artists of the Revolutionary period (Nina Fletcher Little, Paintings by New England Provincial Artists 1775-1800 (Boston, 1976), pp. 74-83).
PROPERTY FROM A DEVOTION FAMILY DESCENDANT
Nina Fletcher Little, "Winthrop Chandler," Art in America, 35, No.2 (April, 1947).
Lance Mayer and Gay Myers, eds., The Devotion Family: The Lives and Possessions of Three Generations in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut (New London, 1991), p.16, Fig. 5.
New York, David A. Schorsch Inc., Winthrop Chandler and His Contemporaries, 1989.
New London, Connecticut, The Lyman Allyn Art Museum, The Devotion Family: The Lives and Possessions of Three Generations in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut, 1991.