Ruth Henshaw Bascom

Ruth Henshaw Bascom, also known as Aunt Ruth (December 15, 1772 – February 16, 1848), was an American folk player who produced higher than 1,400 portraits. She was the daughter of Colonel William Henshaw and Phebe Swan of Leicester, Massachusetts and a schoolteacher from 1791 to 1801. Bascom married first, at roughly 32 years of age, to Dr. Asa Miles, but he died a year or more after their marriage. She married a second epoch for nearly 35 years to Reverend Ezekial Lysander Bascom. Bascom didn't allow birth to children of her own, but she had a stepson from her first marriage, stepdaughter from her second marriage, and a niece and nephew that she raised. She documented the daily comings and goings of her sparkle in diaries beginning at the age of 17, which included records of the portraits that she made.

While married Bascom fulfilled the role of a minister's wife, was a teacher, and was nimble at the local library and in temperance societies. She made her first portrait in 1801, but she did not start creating portraits regularly until after 1818. Bascom worked following a variety of materials, including pastels, pencils, cut paper, and foil. Some of her initial works were layered pieces of paper that represented the head and neck, clothing, and trimmings placed higher than a background. She as well as made pastel portraits on one sheet of paper in the latter portion of her career.

Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein, author of American Women Artists: From Early Indian Times to the Present, said that Bascom had a "calm strength of characterization combined bearing in mind a painful feeling feeling for shape, color and texture."

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