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 Hannah Brown Skeele  (1829 - 1901)

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Lived/Active: Missouri/Maine      Known for: portrait, trompe still life, animal

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Apparently a self-taught painter, Harriet (Hannah) Brown Skeele was known for her still life paintings of highly detailed objects. She also completed paintings of animals, portraits, and views of the outdoors.

She was born in Kennebunkport, Maine and possibly lived in New York for a time and then lived in St. Louis, Missouri from about 1858 to 1871. There she would have seen the still life paintings of John F. Francis (1808-1886) because his work was exhibited in 1860 and of Sarah Miriam Peale, who was a resident there.

Skeele's unique understanding of compositions allowed her to set up still lifes that included such objects as elaborately carved bowls, vases, fruits, and flowers with detailed botanical observations. It has been said of her work, "These are virtually still lifes within still lifes. Her painting has a modular quality, with the contents of containers seeming like separate regions within the larger painting ("

After she returned to Maine, she received many portrait commissions, which limited her ability to paint still life. Among her portrait sitters were clergy, lawyers, the governor of Maine and university presidents.

Sources include:
Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"
Lisa Bush Hankin, "Selections III, Brock & Co."

Information retrieved from: (discussing Still Life with Strawberries (1863) (Art Across America, plate 3.20) and Vase of Morning Glories (AAR Volume 10, Number 2, page 145)

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Hannah Skeele is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Trompe l'Oeil Painting

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