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 Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge  (1824 - 1913)

About: Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/New York      Known for: landscape, early Texas history painting

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Sarah Anne Lillie Harding is primarily known as Sarah Ann Lillie Hardinge

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Boston-born Sarah Hardinge became a painter whose work reflected her extensive travels in Colorado, Illinois, New York, New England and Texas. She was the youngest in a family of nineteen children and grew up in Boston where she attended a girls school. In her youth, she also spent much time in New York City and other parts of the East.

In 1851, she married a physician, George Hardinge, and they lived in Brooklyn. In 1852, she traveled to Texas where she inherited much land from her recently deceased brother Edward. For the next four years, until they sold the land, she and her husband spent much time in Texas, living in Austin, Seguin and San Antonio. Her three children were born in that state, and in 1856, she founded a school in Sutherland Springs where she taught fourteen pupils.

In Texas, Sarah Hardinge created her "most important renderings", (Kovinick 128) which were nineteen small watercolor scenes of early Texas history. Titles include "Mission Concepcion, San Antonio-Texas", "A Prairie Scene-Texas", and "Guadalupe House-Seguin-Texas". These paintings are in the collection of the Amon-Carter Museum of Western Art in Fort Worth, which held an exhibition of them in 1988.

Sarah Hardinge divorced her first husband in 1865, and from 1866 to 1871, she lived in Brooklyn where she married Reverend Harrison Daniels. Before settling in Boston about 1912, they lived in Philadelphia; Vineland, New Jersey; Buffalo, New York; and East Orange, New Jersey.

As an artist Hardinge was mostly self taught, and she had a long career, listed in directories as an artist until 1908 when she was age eighty four. She enjoyed sketching, which she did throughout her travels, and she made a living with her "pearletta pictures", an improved method for finishing pictures.

Phil Kovinick and Marian Yoshiki Kovinick, "Women Artists of the American West"

Biography from Amon Carter Museum of American Art:
A sense of wide-eyed wonder is apparent in the watercolors that document Sarah Hardinge's years in Texas just after the War with Mexico, when immigrants poured into the state intent on taking their share of the cheap land. Perhaps no other record offers as full a picture of early Texas settlement as the pictorial diary of Hardinge, who saw the Texas frontier from a woman's point of view?as a place to establish a home and raise a family.

In 1850 Hardinge inherited from her brother a large parcel of Texas land located on the east side of the Colorado River in Matagorda County, about ninety miles southwest of Houston. Not long after she married Dr. George Hardinge in November 1851, the couple set out from their home in Brooklyn to claim Mrs. Hardinge's inheritance and establish a life in Texas. She began immediately to make a visual record of the still little-known country that would be her new home.

Her watercolors follow the Hardinges' efforts to settle in Texas, from their arrival in Austin in February 1852 to their moves to the area around Seguin and, later, San Antonio. Understandably, Hardinge's first painting was of her new residence in Texas, the handsome home of Thomas William Ward, mayor of Austin and commissioner of the General Land Office. The Ward house must have seemed a hopeful sign of the prosperity that awaited her and her husband.

Sadly, such prosperity as the Wards knew in Austin in the early 1850s was not to be for Sarah Hardinge, for within a few years her husband had squandered their opportunities. Besides financial trouble, Sarah Hardinge was also troubled by her fear of American Indians and her oldest son's poor health. In 1856, the Hardinges were forced to return to her family home in Boston with their three children born on the Texas frontier. George Hardinge continued to speculate wildly with his wife's inheritance, and he probably returned to Texas in 1857. Sarah Hardinge divorced him for "desertion" in 1865, and she married the Reverend Harrison Daniels ten years later.

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