Skip to main content

Still Life

Hannah Brown Skeele, American, 1829–1901
Oil on canvas
Made in
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States, North and Central America
Current Location
Not on view
22 1/4 x 27 in. (56.5 x 68.6 cm)
framed: 30 1/2 x 35 1/4 in. (77.5 x 89.5 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Browne
Public Domain
Object Number
by 1866 - 1979
Mrs. Charles Colric Ferguson Sr., St. Louis, MO; Charles C. Ferguson Jr. (1830-1868), St. Louis, MO, by inheritance; Margaret Thornburg (Ferguson-Tonkin) and Captain John Tonkin, Warren County, PA; Oil City, PA, by inheritance to Margaret Thornburg; Frances Tonkin Egbert (d.1963), Oil City, PA, by inheritance; Robert L. and Winnifred Egbert Browne, Oil City, PA, by inheritance [1]

1979 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Browne [2]

[1] Letters from Winnifred E. Browne (Mrs. Robert L. Browne) dated October 12, 1978, and November 9, 1979, as well as an undated typed history of the painting provided by Mrs. Browne relay the provenance of this painting [SLAM document files]. The painting has for many years remained in the donor's family. Because the painting is signed and dated 1863, it is probable that Mrs. Charles Colric Ferguson of Saint Louis, who died shortly before her son's sudden death in 1868, is the original owner of the painting.

Winnifred E. Browne states in her letter "Skeele's fruit picture hung in Mrs. Charles Colric Ferguson's home in St. Louis when her son, Charles C. Ferguson, brought home his bride Margaret Thornburg, aged 19." After their 1866 marriage, Margaret Thornburg Ferguson lived with her husband and mother-in-law in Saint Louis. At the death of her mother-in-law Mrs. Ferguson Sr., and the sudden death of her husband in 1868, Margaret Thornburg moved with her two small sons (and the painting) to Warren County, PA, and later Oil City, PA. It was there that she met and married an officer in the Confederate Army, Captain John Tonkin. Margaret Thornburg Tonkin and John Tonkin are the grandparents of the donor, Winnifred E. Browne. The painting apparently hung over the buffet at their home, and later at the home of their daughter, Frances Tonkin Egbert. After Frances Egbert's death in 1963, it passed into the possession of her daughter, Winnifred Egbert Browne. Winnifred and her husband Robert L. Browne also hung the painting over the buffet at their home, until they presented it to the Saint Louis Art Museum.

[2] Minutes of the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, November 21, 1979.
Scroll back to top