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Anny J. Gibson

Guilford Limner
Place Made:
Guilford County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
watercolor on paper –ink
HOA 15-1/2″; WOA 13″
Accession Number:
SITTER: Anna Jane Gibson was born July 2, 1821 in Guilford County, North Carolina to Moses Gibson (February 9, 1783 – December 8, 1857) and Elizabeth Paisley Gibson (June 25, 1785 – July 23, 1846). Her father, Moses Gibson, was a farmer, gold mine owner, and an elder in Bethel Presbyterian Church, located just west of present-day Gibsonville, NC, later named for his brother, Joseph Gibson. Anny Jane’s family remained in Guilford County until 1841, when they moved west, ultimately settling in what is today Benton County, Mississippi. She married Dr. Ralph Leonard Bouton in 1843. She died on October 24, 1901 and is buried in the Ashland Cemetery, Benton County, Mississippi.

ARTIST: The “Guilford Limner” is the working name assigned to an unknown watercolor artist, most of whose attributed works were painted in Guilford County, North Carolina in 1826 and 1827. Typical features of the Guilford County likenesses include faces with large, luminous eyes with eyelashes, decorative architectural backgrounds, and sitter names and dates inscribed in block lettering. Later North Carolina portraits, probably painted between 1828 and 1832, are of subjects living in Mecklenburg, Iredell and Rutherford Counties. These differ from the Guilford County portraits in that they do not include decorative interiors or inscribed names, but do include a radiating background behind the figures.

In addition to the North Carolina portraits, nineteen examples of the Limner’s work have been identified with Kentucky histories from Breckenridge, Clark, Bourbon, Franklin, Green, Washington and Lincoln Counties, dated between 1818 and 1825, providing ample evidence that the artist worked in Kentucky before coming to North Carolina. Five South Carolina portraits are known, three of subjects from Union County (Spartanburg), and two from Fairfield County, the latter of which are dated 1832, confirming the Guilford Limner’s working dates from 1818-1832.

RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA has four portraits of the Gibson family by the Guilford Limner (MESDA cc. 5642.1-4). The collection also has two additional works by the Guilford Limner, portraits of Jacob Foust and Mary (Clapp) Foust (5753.1-2).

DESCRIPTION: Watercolor portrait of Anny Jane Gibson, 1827. Likeness of a female child facing forward wearing a blue dress with a white collar, and a blue beaded necklace. She is seated in a small painted chair, and holding a large white flower in her proper right hand, while her left hand grips the chair armrest. The background consists of a lower panel marbleized in beige and brown separated from a yellow upper wall by a red and black chair rail. The floor of blue with bright yellow lines suggests either a painted floor or floorcloth. Above the figure the sitter’s name is inscribed in block letters and her age is penned in cursive script beneath the likeness.

The four watercolor likenesses of Moses Gibson, his wife Elizabeth, and their two daughters Eliza Ann and Anny Jane remained in the family until they were placed on loan to MESDA, following their 2010 appearance on the Antiques Roadshow in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Credit Line:
Loan courtesy of Alice Fitzgibbon.