Francis O. Watts with Bird

Francis O. Watts with Bird
Brewster's serene and ethereal portrait of Francis O. Watts is one of his most compelling portraits of a child. In this work-particularly Francis' white dress and the peaceful landscape he inhabits-modern viewers often feel a palpable sense of the silence that was Brewster's world. Watts was born to the Kennebunkport couple Francis and Mehitable (Lord) Watts. Brewster used muted colors, a bird, a wide-eyed expression and a naturalistic landscape to express the child's innocence. The bird on the string symbolizes mortality because only after the child's death could the bird go free, just like the child's soul. Infant mortality was high during Brewster's time and artists employed this image often in association with children. Watts married Caroline Goddard also of Kennebunkport. He entered Harvard at the age of fifteen and by 1825 was a practicing lawyer. As an adult he was a community leader, becoming the first President of the Young Men's Christian Association. He died in 1860.
Physical dimensions: 
height 40.25 in ; width 31 in