Oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, with a period gilt frame.
Signed on back:
“Thomas Wister Grookett 3 Years of His age. Painted by AB Carlin, a Mute, Fox Chase, PA, 1844.”
Like the renowned portraitist John Brewster, Jr., the Philadelphia born Carlin brothers, Andrew and John were both deaf and mute since childhood, but were also blessed with considerable artistic abilities, each finding success as portrait and miniature painters. While the elder brother Peter Carlin embraced the academic approach, Andrew Carlin worked in the folk tradition, clearly seen in this charming and colorful likeness of three year old Thomas Wister Grookett painted in the Philadelphia suburb of Fox Chase, near Abington. Andrew Carlin proudly identified himself as a “Mute” as part of his inscription on the back of this portrait.
The 1860 United States Census records Andrew Carlin and his wife Anne, as “Deaf,” living with their five children in Philadelphia. The sitter, Thomas Wister Grookett lived into adulthood, married and produced two children, Thomas, Jr. and Agnes.