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New Spanish Art in the Weddell Collection in Richmond, Virginia, USA: a Preliminary Catalog

Author(s): Schreffler Michael J.

Journal: Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas
ISSN 0185-1276

Volume: XXIV;
Issue: 81;
Date: 2002;
Original page

This article presents a preliminary study and catalog of a group of art objects collected in Mexico by US consul general Alexander Weddell (1876-1948) and his wife, Virginia Chase Steedman Weddell (1874-1948), between 1924 and 1928. While other foreigners in early-twentieth century Mexico collected “folk” or “popular” art and the works of contemporary painters, the Weddells were more interested in what they called “antiques”. Their collection, which today belongs to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond, Virginia, US, consists of a number of works that date to the eighteenth century. They include a painting of the Virgin of Ocotlán, a set of small, oval canvases portraying episodes from the martyrdom of St. Agnes, two folding screens—one depicting a series of hunting scenes, and another with imagery derived from van Veen’s Horatii Emblemata—, part of a choir stall, a carved image of the Virgin of Sorrows, and several textiles and works of decorative art. The Weddells assembled their collection to decorate “Virginia House”, the home that later would become their permanent residence, and were assisted in their acquisition of the objects by Austrian ex-patriot and art dealer René d’Harnoncourt. Scant provenance data about the works in the collection appear in Alexander Weddell’s 1947 Description of Virginia House and in volumes of correspondence between Weddell and his wife during the period of their residence in Mexico.
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