Last year I started a series of paintings based on the Victorian Christmas. In other words, Christmas as we have begun to understand it today. The Christmas tree as we know today evolved in the Victorian period after the Civil War. Last year I completed a painting entitled The Family Event, In Search of the Perfect Tree, ca. 1870's . In this work, two children and their parents with assistance of the family dog, the model of course being Snookiedog, are cutting the perfect tree.
This year I have completed a new work in the series. The title of the work will be "The Family Event, Bringing Home the Perfect Tree, ca. 1870's". The children in last year's painting found and cut the perfect tree. This year they are bringing the tree home.
First I would like to talk about the home I am using as the subject for this 1870's adventure. In 1869, the famous steamboat captain Joseph Kinney built a mansion across the Missouri River from Boonville, Missouri. The home is a tribute and testimonial to the rivers and their tremendous ability to bring goods and services to the inland ports of the United States. The only materials manufactured on site were the bricks. The mansion, originally built for a cost of $24,000., is framed with cypress from the southern reaches of the Mississippi River Delta, see my painting Mississippi River Landing, Loading Cypress Lumber at Caruthersville Landing, 1857 to witness a possible location from which the lumber could have originated, the walnut used for trim, doors, and windows was milled in St. Louis from logs gathered by Captain Kinney on his travels of the inland waterways of this country, and, as another example of the great geographic regions the home represents, the nine marble fireplace mantels were quarried from the same location as the marble used by Michaelangelo. All mantels were shipped to the United States, off loaded in New Orleans, taken to St. Louis up the Mississippi River, and then up the Missouri River to the private landing of Captain Joesph Kinney located in front of the home being built and named by Kinney, Rivercene.
In 1874, George Caleb Bingham came the Kinney home and stayed for five weeks. His job was to paint the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Kinney. The portraits, above, now hang in the United Missouri Bank located in downtown Boonville, Missouri.
The home still stands in all its majesty across the Missouri River from Boonville, Missouri and is currently under the ownership of Ron and Jody Lenz. Today it is known as Rivercene Bed and Breakfast. Sandy and I had to do a little research for this painting, thus, a very pleasent visit and an over night stay for us in the Captain's Quarters. You will note the addition to right side of the home. This was our accommodations for the evening and the master bedroom of the Kinneys.