The Art Corner: Little Girl Knitting – A Mystery Sculpture!
I recently was visiting the Lightner Museum located in the old Alcazar Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, and found this beautiful sculpture of a little girl sitting on a big pedestal in the corner. I think it turned out to be my favorite piece in the museum and the gorgeous antique mirror next to her is perfect for the setting. The sculpture is by Ella Pollock Bidwell of which very little known. The art was signed by the artist with Florence 1889, Carrera Marble was the medium used, and listed on a separate line “American(?).”
The Museum’s information sign by the work states “Despite the fact that this is a highly executed work of are, no concrete information has come to light on Ella Pollock Bidwell. Whether she actually sculpted this from marble herself or only did a clay maquette to be copied by others is left for us to speculate. There is some possibility that Ella Pollock Bidwell may have been an American working in Italy as many American Artists of the 19th Century were want to do. Alas we have no proof to offer of this either. Although the Artist is unknown to us today, her legacy remains with us in this charming and beautifully crafted work of art.” While searching on-line, the Bidwell Family Crest and History came up and listed that in 1892, a woman by the name of Ella P. Bidwell came through Ellis Island from London at the age of 30. Can’t help but wonder if this is the same woman who did this beautiful sculpture. You also have to wonder if this woman made more beautiful sculptures during her lifetime – what a shame we do not know!
The image was processed mainly in Lightroom. I created the tinted preset from reading David duChemin’s book “Vision & Voice – Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.” See my blog “Inexpensive Gifts for the Photoshop Lover on Your List” No. 2. This book is a great read if you use Lightroom – he teaches you how to make some very beautiful presets. I use them all the time. The one applied to this image I named Maasai Chocolate split-tone & vignette to use as a starting point, but ended up changing several of the settings in the Black & White Mix. The image was also cropped to bring the mirror and the girl into closer view. In Photoshop a Curves Adjustment Layer was added and the Sharpen Tool was used on its own layer to locally sharpen parts of her features. Finally her face was Dodged just a small amount. I really loved the results of this preset on the sculpture…..Digital Lady Syd