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September 22, 2010

It's All Relative..... to Someone, Somewhere!

My husband and I love antiques. We love to go antique hunting. One of our biggest passions is to find items that have a name attached - whether that be a signed painting, an identified photograph, an engraved snuff box.... or other miscellaneous identified object. If we possibly do it, we buy the item and research the name.

It doesn't matter that it's not our ancestor. We are dedicated to finding and saving lost items, then researching the family connected to that item. We try to post about as many of them as we can so that with any luck a relative or descendant will spot the article and enjoy seeing what we found.

Lost Faces: Family Photo Albums is one of the examples of our quest to find such lost items and give them a prominent place online. But we also have items in our home that we enjoy on a daily basis. This large painted photograph is one of them. We know who this sweet young boy is and we've done research to find out more about him.

Here is his story: Many years ago my husband's grandmother cleaned homes for elderly women in Perth County Ontario. One of the homes was that of a widow, Elsie Harstone. When Elsie died, the estate was put up at auction and my husband (then in his 20s) and his grandmother attended.

Up for auction was a large (2' x 2 1/2') tinted portrait of a young boy in an antique frame. It was taken circa 1900. On the back was written "Robert H. Harstone on his third birthday"

Hubby's grandmother told him the photo was of Elsie's husband as a young boy and that it had always been in the attic during the time she worked there. This may have been due to water damage in the upper right corner. My husband didn't want the photo to be lost or to go to someone who didn't know the family, so he bid on it and won it.

We love this photo and have it hanging in our living room. I've done some research on Robert and his family, and have written it neatly on the back of the painting. That way when the painting goes on to someone else, they will have knowledge of the subject of the portrait. I've also added when it was purchased (that is, when it left Elsie's hands) and by whom. Future owners might add their own details and the painting will take on new life with each owner.

Robert Hopper Harstone  was born 22 July 1899 in St. Mary's Perth County Ontario to Leonard Harstone and Drucilla Beatrice Maude Windsor. Leonard Harstone was a lawyer. The marriage of Leonard Harstone and Drucilla Windsor took place in Toronto, York County Ontario on 22 March 1898 in the Church of the Messiah.

See Harstone & Windsor Families of Perth and Essex Counties, Ontario for more details if you recognize this family.

1 comment:

The Dusty Victorian said...

Good morning Lorine,
How interesting! I happen to stumble upon your blogpost researching the previous owners of the house we own. I sent the link to our town museum as they always welcome St Marys connections and artefacts.
Thank you for sharing.
Kindest regards,