By Artist unknown, date unknown, | Watercolor on ivory, with gold accents
Tucker Harris was born in 1747 in Charleston and studied medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, graduating in 1771. When he returned to Charleston he was the physician to St. Philip’s Parish until he resigned to serve in the Revolutionary War.
He was one of the founding members of the Medical Society of South Carolina, senior warden of the South Carolina Society, president of the Fellowship Society, and a member of the committee appointed to receive George Washington on his southern tour in 1791. Dr. Harris died in 1821 and is buried in St. Paul’s Church, Charleston, South Carolina.
On the verso of the miniature is written “Friendship and Maternal Love,” with an urn and weeping willow branches. Gift to the Medical Society of South Carolina in 1953 from Mrs. Arthur Young. On loan from the Medical Society of South Carolina.
Proposed treatment includes removing grime and discolored varnish, consolidating areas of lifting or fragile paint, filling losses (as needed), reducing canvas distortion, revarnishing surface, and proper reframing.
Frame requires extensive repair and cleaning, filling and consolidation of gesso, removal of overpaint, and surface toning.
The goal for the project is $150,000 which will pay for all the work to conserve these visual treasures. The cost for each portrait’s conservation ranges from $1,200 to $15,000.
This cost includes the conservation/ treatment report, conservation of the canvas and frame, and any costs associated with the treatment such as curatorial research and documentation, photography, transportation, and insurance.
Donors who adopt a portrait will receive named recognition during the portraits absence in the form of a sign reading, “Portrait being conserved through the generous support of [your name].”
When the portrait is returned a celebratory reception will be held at which the donor will be honored for his or her support of the project. Finally, the finished portrait will be reinstalled in the Waring with a permanent sign reading, “This portrait was conserved in [year] by the generous support of [your name].”
As a thank you gift, donors will be offered a reproduction of their “adopted” portrait, printed on canvas and suitable for framing.
In order to kick-start the project, the WLS sent the portrait of Alexander Baron off for conservation.
Dr. Baron was selected for two reasons: first, the sitter, Dr. Baron, was a founding member of the Medical Society of South Carolina, whose generous support of the Waring has enabled us to conserve and digitize numerous items from the collection.
Second, the artist of the portrait was Samuel B. Morse, whose portraiture career in Charleston included painting the city’s leaders.