Thursday, January 7

Artist of 'Mystery' Painting - Solved!

Today’s Image
Thom Belle Eastwood Harris' Rendition of The Blue Boy

They say you only need to look in your own backyard, if you have one, to find what you’re looking for.

That was certainly the case in my attempt to learn about the artist of a “mystery” painting that has been in the family for more than 50 years and about which I recently blogged.

It was not long after I clicked the Publish button on my blog entry, A ‘Mystery’ Painting – Finding the Origin of an Unknown Painting & Artist, when a family member emailed me with some news.

It turns out I was incorrect in thinking the mystery painting had been a gift to my grandmother from her neighbor, “Mrs. Downey.” I remember Mrs. Downey as a proper elderly lady who liked to drink tea, but she was not the benevolent friend for which I had given her credit all those years. Sorry, Mrs. Downey, wherever you are.

The credit for the gift of the mystery painting actually goes to a distant relative in the family. T Harris, which is how the painting was signed in the lower left corner, was a cousin of my grandmother’s. T Harris is actually Thom Belle Eastwood. She was a first cousin of my grandmother; she was born in 1887 and died in 1962. She married Giles Edward Harris and took the artist name of T Harris.

Not that you care, and without getting too geneological on you, my grandmother’s mother (my great-grandmother), Alice Eastwood, was the sister of Thom Belle’s father, Thomas Eastwood. So, she and my grandmother were first cousins. I think that makes me a third cousin of Thom Belle's—whatever.

All the kudos in solving the mystery go to my family member who researches and keeps up to date with the family history and family trees for the rest of us. Without that knowledge, we would never have figured this out. In several ensuing emails and attachments, we corresponded with long out-of-touch distant relatives.

All the emails confirmed that Thom Belle Eastwood was, in fact, a painter, although there is no mention of where, or if, any of her paintings were shown or sold, no matter. What matters is that the relatives all spoke lovingly of her paintings which she gave to many family members and which now hang in their homes.

Thom evidently enjoyed painting still lifes, and she must have also liked classics, such as Pinkie and Blue Boy (about which I also recently blogged). I tell you that because she painted The Blue Boy, and her rendition is Today’s Image.

Though this has nothing to do with art, the lesson from this should be to talk with your family members and friends now. Get clarification on all those events and people your parents or grandparents talked about back in the day. As a little kid, you had no context, and you probably don’t have all the right connections about who's who.

Anyway, back to art. I guess I’ll have to stop referring to it as the ‘mystery’ painting and give it a name. S0, since I’ve always liked the dominant color, I think I’ll call it the Turquoise painting.



  1. Loved your blog today. Glad the mystery was solved.

  2. Thanks! I am, too. We might never have solved it without good the work in geneology.

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