An anonymous letter written in 1850 and signed by "an admirer of art" accompanied the drawings. It relates that Willson and a Miss Brundage moved to Greenville, New York, in about 1810. The two women pioneers built a log cabin, and while Brundage farmed the land, Willson painted pictures that she sold to nearby farmers. The letter claims that her watercolors were sold from Canada to Mobile, Alabama.
Willson used brightly colored paints made from berry juice, vegetable dyes, and brick dust. Untrained, she drew images from popular prints in a bold, simple style. Her series of scenes from the tale of the Prodigal Son illustrates a story popular among American settlers.
At the death of Brundage, Willson is said to have been inconsolable and to have disappeared shortly afterward. The last of her known works was completed in 1825.
Willson's story served as the basis for Alma Routsong's 1969 novel Patience and Sarah.
[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]
Patience & Sarah (Little Sister's Classics) by Isabel Miller
Series: Little Sister's Classics (Book 3)
Paperback: 225 pages
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (September 1, 2005)
Amazon: Patience & Sarah
Amazon Kindle: Patience & Sarah
“A remarkable story.”—Publishers Weekly
Set in the nineteenth century, Isabel Miller’s classic lesbian novel traces the relationship between Patience White, an educated painter, and Sarah Dowling, a cross-dressing farmer, whose romantic bond does not sit well with the puritanical New England farming community in which they live. They choose to live together and love each other freely, even though they know of no precedents for their relationship; they must trust their own instincts and see beyond the disdain of their neighbors. Ultimately, they are forced to make life-changing decisions that depend on their courage and their commitment to one another.
First self-published in 1969 in an edition of one thousand copies, the author hand-sold the book on New York street corners; it garnered increasing attention to the point of receiving the American Library Association’s first Gay Book Award in 1971. McGraw-Hill’s version of the book a year later brought it to mainstream bookstores across the country.
Patience & Sarah is a historical romance whose drama was a touchstone for the burgeoning gay and women’s activism of the late 1960s and early 1970s. It celebrates the joys of an uninhibited love between two strong women with a confident defiance that remains relevant today.
This edition features an appendix of supplementary materials about Patience & Sarah and the author, as well as an introduction by Emma Donoghue, the Irish novelist whose numerous books include the contemporary Dublin novels Stirfry and Hood, the latter of which won the ALA’s Gay and Lesbian Book Award in 1995.
Little Sister’s Classics is an Arsenal Pulp Press imprint dedicated to reviving lost and out-of-print gay and lesbian classic books, both fiction and nonfiction. The series is produced in conjunction with Little Sister’s Books, the heroic gay Vancouver bookstore well-known for its anti-censorship efforts.
Isabel Miller was the author of numerous novels, including two under her real name, Alma Routsong. She died in 1996.
More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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