Saturday, 31 March 2018

Anna Ella Carroll (reincarnated). A random discovery.

Pootling around on Google images, looking for a 'world event' which could be Photoshopped a la This Is Art, I came across this picture:

Abraham Lincoln at the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which gave slaves their freedom.
Jan. 1, 1863
Francis Bicknell Carpenter, “The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln,” 1864, oil on canvas, 9 x 15 feet, U.S. Capitol Building

This was ripe for the taking and so I set to work, adding TIA tote bags and MAVA paraphernalia.
(For more information about MAVA, go to
An hour or so later I had created this:

Nom de Plume 2018 (Photoshop)

I was pleased with the result, but then needed to find the original again having closed the webpage. Google thus brought me to this - and in particular, the empty chair which was now occupied.
By a woman.

Laura Era 2016-17  (oil on canvas)

Aside from this image being in colour, there is a vital and timely addition. This is by Laura Era:
“The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln,” 2016-17, oil on canvas.
Depicted in the painting (left to right) are Cabinet members Edwin M. Stanton, Salmon P. Chase, President Abraham Lincoln, Gideon Welles, Caleb B. Smith, William H. Seward (seated), Montgomery Blair, Anna Ella Carroll (reincarnated), and Edward Bates.

Anna Ella Carroll (reincarnated)

Anna Ella Carroll was born on August 29, 1815, in Somerset County, Maryland, USA. She lived in a male-dominated realm of war, politics, and diplomacy but as a key military strategist, Presidential adviser, and “unofficial” member of Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, she was probably the most powerful woman in America during the Civil War.
Yet, her accomplishments are virtually unknown.
When she died in 1894, with no honour, title, pension, or acknowledgement, her life story was already seen as a model for the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
A modern biographer described Carroll as “hands down, the most important political woman of the 19th century.”
Carroll was a war spy, politician, Unionist writer, pamphleteer, author and legal expert. She is credited with helping to prevent Maryland’s secession from the Union. There is much more on her at the source link below:

"Correcting history"

This is what Laura Era has achieved in her 2010 commissioned painting. The original painting hangs over the west staircase in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol and prominently depicts an empty chair draped with a red shawl, along with maps and notes similar to those Carroll carried. Many historians feel it was Carpenter’s way of acknowledging Carroll as the unrecognised member of the Cabinet.

A random discovery of a painting has segued well with my ongoing MA practice in which I have looked at how women have been dismissed or categorised in the art world through labelling. This painting certainly illustrates one aspect of this theme. (see previous post on sexism in art galleries.)

No comments:

Post a Comment