CHAPTER XVIII: HENRY SANDHAM, THE ARTIST OF RAMONA


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HENRY SANDHAM, THE ARTIST OF RAMONA

The constant companion of Helen Hunt Jackson when in California on her Indian mission was the late Mr. Henry Sandham. He was one of the artists of the Century Magazine, had established a reputation in his work and was selected and sent by the Century Company with Mrs. Jackson on her California journey.

Mrs. Jackson was to contribute articles to the magazine named, and Mr. Sandham to illustrate them, not with camera, but with pencil and brush.

Henry Sandham was born at Montreal, Canada, in 1842. It has been said that northern climes are too cold to nourish artistic temperament and talent; but out of the Canadian wintry blasts came Mr. Sandham, destined to rise to success and fame in the world of art.

The wild life of Canada was his special work, and his introduction in the United States was through the Century Magazine, in which were published his sketches depicting the outdoor life of his native land.

Who accompanied Mrs.  to and on her journeys in , and who illustrated her writings and painted the  pictures. As he appeared in , while in .

MR. HENRY SANDHAM, ARTIST OF THE CENTURY MAGAZINE,

 .

SAN LUIS REY MISSION


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Mr. Sandham has declared that, when a youth, every available minute, night and day, he pursued diligently and earnestly drawing, sketching and painting. Even the opposition of his parents to an artistic career did not discourage him.

In 1880 he was selected as one of the original members of the Royal Canadian Academy, which was founded by H. R. H., the Princess Louise. He then went to Europe, where, with the money he had made and saved, he pursued his studies. He soon returned to America and located at Boston, and it was while he was residing there that he was commissioned by the Century Magazine to accompany Mrs. Jackson to California. In later years he went to London, where he continued his work, and where he died, June 21, 1910.

The Century Company is entitled to the credit for the coming of Mrs. Jackson to California; she was its paid contributor. The Mission Indians were to be her principal theme; but the Franciscan Missions and Southern California were within the sphere of her commission.

The wisdom and business sagacity of the Century Company in securing the services of Mrs. Jackson for the work resulted in enriching


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the columns of its magazine with articles from Mrs. Jackson's pen, the best known and most generally read being, Father Junipero and His Work, The Present Condition of the Mission Indians in Southern California, and Echoes in the City of Angels. These beautiful and historical compositions have been republished in two different forms: Glimpses of Three Coasts, and Glimpses of California and the Missions. The first two, Father Junipero and His Work, and The Present Condition of the Mission Indians in Southern California, are a part of the reading series in the public schools of California; credit for which is to be given to the thoughtfulness and persistency of Miss Annie B. Picher, of Pasadena, California, who has done much to popularize the works of Mrs. Jackson and honor her memory.

Mrs. Jackson's magazine contributions were elaborately and realistically illustrated by Mr. Sandham. He went everywhere with his principal. He visited every Mission, studied Indian character, and sketched from life. He himself has said that his sketches ‘‘were always made on the spot, with Mrs. Jackson close at hand suggesting emphasis to this object or prominence to that.’’ This statement includes the


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drawings which embellish the Pasadena Edition of Ramona; was indeed uttered in direct reference to the novel.

Glimpses of Three Coasts and Glimpses of California and the Missions are valuable and worthy of space in every library because of the illustrations they contain alone.

It was not until 1900 that Mr. Sandham gave to the public the Ramona paintings from which were taken the illustrations contained in the Pasadena Edition. This was seventeen years after making the sketches for them in California.

The illustrations proper number fifteen, every one being especially pertinent to the text. They make real and living things of their subjects. In addition there are twenty-six decorative chapter headings; all the work of Mr. Sandham.

This work alone places Mr. Sandham in the front rank of the world's artists. All are most beautiful and interesting, but to the authors the most appealing of these paintings is the one of the meeting of Ramona and Father Salvierderra in the wild mustard. The Father was expected at Camulos ranch on his annual pilgrimage, and Ramona went forth to greet him. The text thus pictures the scene: ‘‘The


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wild mustard in Southern California is like that spoken of in the New Testament, in the branches of which the birds of the air may rest. . . . The cloud of blossom seems floating in the air; at times it looks like golden dust. With a clear blue sky behind it, as it is often seen, it looks like a golden snow-storm. . . . Father Salvierderra soon found himself in a veritable thicket. . . . Suddenly he heard faint notes of singing. He paused,--listened. It was the voice of a woman. . . . The notes grew clearer, though still low and sweet as the twilight notes of the thrush. . . . Father Salvierderra stood still as one in a dream. . . . In a moment more came, distinct and clear to his ear, the beautiful words of the second stanza of Saint Francis' inimitable lyric, The Canticle of the Sun. . . . 'Ramona!' exclaimed the Father. . . . And as he spoke her face came into sight, set in a swaying frame of the blossoms.’’

What more inspiring subject could there be to the artist? Mr. Sandham's genius poured into the picture he created, and the scene lives.

No less dramatic, however, are the other paintings, each a pictured climax in the sorrowful and stirring story of Ramona. Every detail of fact was carefully and correctly sketched


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and colored by the artist. In the picture of the Señora Moreno reprimanding Juan Canito, the head shepherd, for denouncing Luigo, the lazy shepherd boy, the veranda on the west side of the court at Camulos ranch is readily recognized--even as it is at this time. The Señora had said to Juan, ‘‘I fear the Father will give you penance when he hears what you have said,’’ and then turned her back, while he ‘‘stood watching her as she walked away, at her usual slow pace, her head slightly bent forward, her rosary lifted in her left hand, and the fingers of the right hand mechanically slipping the beads.’’ The painting is in every detail true to the text.

The portraits of Ramona and Alessandro are idealized ones. In their faces are plainly depicted the intensity of their natures, their strong characters, their sufferings and their sorrows. These pictures are so strikingly true to the descriptions of the heroine and hero in the story as to be readily recognized. They reveal an undercurrent of woe that is the pathos of the romance.

Another of the paintings is a portrait of Father Salvierderra, in cowl and cassock, a cross with the Savior pendent from the neck. It was, as before stated, seventeen years after


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Mr. Sandham had seen the original of Father Salvierderra at Santa Barbara Mission, Father Francisco de Jesus Sanchez, O.F.M., that he produced the painting of Father Salvierderra for Ramona. It would seem that the artist desired to idealize the priestly character. The face is uplifted, the eyes turned toward heaven. All eyes are beautiful when looking heavenward. In the portrait are strongly portrayed those intensely devout, unselfish and saintly virtues attributed to Father Salvierderra in the romance, and actually possessed by his prototype, Father Sanchez.

In the description of Father Salvierderra, when journeying from Santa Barbara Mission to Camulos ranch, pausing many times to gaze at the beautiful flowers that lined his pathway, Mr. Sandham found inspiration for the painting of the Father standing, leaning on his staff, viewing the scene about him. ‘‘Flowers were always dear to the Franciscans,’’ is the quotation from the story that designates this painting. This picture brings realization to this text of the story: ‘‘It was melancholy to see how, after each one of these pauses, each fresh drinking in of the beauty of the landscape and the balmy air, the old man resumed his slow pace, with a long sigh and


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his eyes cast down. The fairer this beautiful land, the sadder to know it lost to the Church --alien hands reaping its fullness, establishing new customs, new laws. All the way down the coast from Santa Barbara he had seen, at every stopping place, new tokens of the settling up of the country--farms opening, towns growing; the Americans pouring in at all points to reap the advantage of their new possession. It was this which had made his journey heavy-hearted, and made him feel, in approaching the Señora Moreno's, as if he were coming to one of the last sure strongholds of the Catholic faith left in the country.’’

The rent in the altar cloth repaired by , on the right.

THE ALTAR IN THE CHAPEL AT CAMULOS

Connected with which was the Convent of the Sacred Heart.  .

CHURCH OF THE ANGELS, AT THE PLAZA, LOS ANGELES,

When Felipe, not yet recovered from a recent fever, undertook to assist at the sheep-shearing, he fainted on the top of the shed where he was at work packing the wool. There was confusion and anxiety because of the difficulty incident to removing him to the ground. It was Alessandro who sprang up the cleated post, seized Felipe and carried him along a plank to a place of safety. It was a tragic moment, and the scene is vividly delineated by Mr. Sandham in another of the paintings.

During Felipe's illness nearly every day Alessandro was sent for to play his violin or sing to him. One of the paintings is of Felipe's


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bedroom, the Señora Moreno sitting by her stricken son, and Alessandro, with violin and bow at ease, singing. ‘‘It seemed to be the only thing that roused him from his half lethargic state.’’ Felipe would say to Alessandro, ‘‘I am going to sleep now, sing.’’ The artist impressively presents the sick-room scene, the anxious watching of the devoted mother, the ardor and seriousness of the Indian singer.

A thrilling scene is presented by the painting portraying Señora Moreno enraged at the discovery of Ramona locked in the arms of Alessandro under the willows at the washing stones in the twilight. With the stamping of her foot, and directing with outstretched arm, she ordered Alessandro out of her sight; but ‘‘Alessandro did not stir, except to turn toward Ramona with an inquiring look.’’ Señora Moreno is pictured in extreme coldness, hatred and anger, Alessandro in despair, Ramona in dignified protest; the whole eliciting sympathy for the lovers, disdain for the Señora.

A pathetic part of the Ramona story is the journeying of Alessandro and the heroine on horseback from Camulos ranch to Temecula and thence on to their place of marriage, San Diego. ‘‘Baba and Benito,’’ the respective


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names of Ramona's horse and Alessandro's, ‘‘were now such friends they liked to pace closely side by side; and Baba and Benito were by no means without instinctive recognitions of the sympathy between their riders . . . Baba had long ago learned to stop when his mistress laid her hand on Alessandro's shoulder. He stopped now, and it was long minutes before he had the signal to go on again.’’ And here was a demonstration of the love that inflamed Alessandro and compelled him to despair because of his abject poverty in worldly goods, causing him to cry out to Ramona, ‘‘'Majella! Majella! . . . What can Alessandro do now? What, oh what? Majella gives all; Alessandro gives nothing!'; and he bowed his forehead on her hands before he put them back gently on Baba's neck.’’ Mr. Sandham's temperament was in accord with this touching episode, which is the subject of one of the most interesting of his Ramona paintings.

MR. HENRY SANDHAM AS HE APPEARED A YEAR BEFORE HIS DEATH

GREVEJA PA AND MISSION INDIANS

A demonstration of implicit trust of woman in man and of religious fidelity of the latter in reciprocation is the experience of Ramona and Alessandro in the mountains the first night after their elopement from Señora Moreno's. ‘‘Before nightfall of this, their first day in the wilderness, Alessandro had prepared for Ramona


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a bed of finely broken twigs of the manzanita and ceanothus. . . . Above these he spread layers of glossy ferns, five and six feet long.’’ Ramona laid down to rest. Alessandro made no bed for himself. He was to watch the night through, that no harm should come to his Majella. ‘‘Ramona was very tired and she was very happy. All night long she slept like a child. She did not hear Alessandro's steps. . . . Hour after hour Alessandro sat leaning against a huge sycamore trunk, and watched her. . . . She looked like a saint, he thought.’’ The artist fully grasped this sweet and peaceful scene. He made the canvas record and retell the implicit trust of Ramona, the gallant chivalry of Alessandro.

In the graveyard at Temecula Alessandro and Ramona met Carmena, an Indian woman, crazed with grief, who was passing her days at her baby's grave in Pachanga and her nights by her husband's at Temecula; all the result of American aggression in the Indians' country. Carmena watched with Ramona while Alessandrowent to Hartsel's in Temecula to secure his father's violin. The reproduction of this incident on canvas by Mr. Sandham is in illustration of the lines of the story reading: ‘‘Dismounting, and taking Baba's bridle over


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her arm, she bowed her head assentingly, and still keeping firm hold of Carmena's hand, followed her.’’ It is a touching scene, and a test of the artistic ability of the painter.

The day after their marriage Alessandro and Ramona arrived at San Pasquale, where had located some of Alessandro's Temecula people, who wondered ‘‘how it had come about that she, so beautiful, and nurtured in the Moreno house, of which they all knew, should be Alessandro's loving wife. . . . Toward night they came, bringing in a hand-barrow the most aged woman in the village, to look at her. She wished to see the beautiful stranger. . . . Those who had borne her withdrew and seated themselves a few paces off. Alessandro spoke first. In a few words he told the old woman of Ramona's birth, of their marriage, and of her new name of adoption.’’ Then followed words from Ramona, interpreted by Alessandro; and the old woman, lifting up her arms like a sibyl, said: ‘‘It is well; I am your mother. The winds of the valley shall love you, and the grass shall dance when you come.’’ The painting of Mr. Sandham shows the old woman and other Indians seated, Ramona kneeling and Alessandro standing, bending, with his left hand on Ramona's right shoulder. It presents an


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affecting climax, and evidences the genius of the artist.

When Felipe, in his first search for Ramona and Alessandro, arrived at Santa Barbara Mission, ‘‘the first figure he saw was the venerable Father Salvierderra sitting in the corridor. As Felipe approached, the old man's face beamed with pleasure, and he came forward tottering, leaning on a staff in each hand. 'Welcome, my son,' was the Father's greeting, and he asked, 'Are all well?' Felipe knew then the Father had not seen Ramona, and dismay seized him. And when Felipe told him he was seeking Ramona, the Father cried, 'Ramona! . . . Seeking Ramona! What has befallen the blessed child?'’’ The painting is emotional and enlivens the text of the story to action.

The portrait of Felipe, the eldest son of Señora Moreno, presents a Mexican gentlemen of culture and character. The sombrero and cigarette of the Mexican are in evidence. Instead of a front there is a side view of the subject. The picture is an interesting study of a young man who adored and wished to please his mother, who loved Ramona ardently, but rationally and unselfishly, and who was scorched by the fire that raged between the cold


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and haughty Señora and the lovable and innocent Ramona; and who, at the end of the tragedy, sought Ramona, discovered her as Alessandro's widow, took her and her child to Camulos, and afterward went with them to Mexico City, where the two were married. ‘‘Sons and daughters came to bear his name. The daughters were all beautiful; but the most beautiful of them all, and, it was said, the most beloved by both father and mother, was the oldest one; the one who bore the mother's name, and was only stepdaughter to theSeñor --Ramona--Ramona,daughter of Alessandro, the Indian.’’

The canvas story of the brutal and tragic murder of Alessandro by Jim Farrar is a painting of distressing horror. It shows Jim Farrar on horseback and Alessandro stepping out of his dwelling, his hands pleadingly lifted, Ramona leaning against the open door, her hands to her face, the picture of grief and despair. Capitan, the faithful collie, is at Ramona's side. The painting is true to the story of Alessandro's death.

The decorative chapter headings from Mr. Sandham's sketches are an interesting feature of the illustrated edition of Ramona. They have for their subjects the Camulos chapel,


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the torn altar cloth, different Mission buildings, Indian baskets, Temecula village, Mission bells, and other objects described in Ramona. All these sketches are faithfully correct.

The portrait of Father Salvierderra painted for the Pasadena Edition of Ramona, is not to be confused with the original portrait of that character produced by Mr. Sandham from life while he was at Santa Barbara with Mrs. Jackson in 1883. Of this original portrait Mr. Sandham's daughter, Miss Gwendoline Sandham, residing in London, has thus written the authors: ‘‘It is a very fine watercolor, and perhaps the best picture my father ever painted, and has been 'hung on the line' in most of the world's big exhibitions; and though, for form's sake, it has been catalogued with a price, it has always been exhibited with the red star, 'sold,' on it, as it was my mother's property. It is now mine. It is a portrait study of the original of Father Salvierderra, and was painted, I believe, in the cloister of Santa Barbara Mission.’’

When Mr. Sandham was making the Ramona sketches at Santa Barbara Mission, including the original portrait of Father Salvierderra, the prototype of this character, Father Sanchez, gave to the artist his cassock,


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cowl, sandals and the hempen girdle with its symbolical five knots. The sandals were well worn, and, to quote from Mr. Sandham's note to the Pasadena Edition of Ramona, ‘‘the cowl bleached and faded with the sun--marks of the endless round of toils and duties so faithfully described by Mrs. Jackson.’’

HOME OF TEMECULA INDIANS AND SAN DIEGO MISSION

From the original portrait of Father , painted from life by Mr. , the artist of , in the cloister at , . The bell is the  at . . (.)

PORTRAIT OF FATHER SALVIERDERRA

From a letter received from Miss Gwendoline Sandham by the authors the following is of special interest: ‘‘It might interest you to know that the Franciscan robe my father mentions in his little note to 'Ramona,' is still in my possession. The father gave it to him himself on the condition that it should never be used for masquerading, theatrical displays, etc. Unfortunately the sandals and girdle are missing, and I fear the moths have played sad havoc with the robe itself, but it is a very real memento of the original of Father Salvierderra, and as such my father always held it in sacred regard. If you care to have the remains of the robe to be presented to the City of Los Angeles I will be very glad to send it on to you.’’

The authors have accepted the offer of Miss Sandham, and the robe of Father Salvierderra will be disposed of in due time as directed by her.

That Mr. Sandham was an artist of great


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versatility is evidenced alone by the variety of subjects of the Ramona illustrations. His portrait of Father Salvierderra would be a credit to Van Dyck; the scene of demonstrative love between Alessandro and Ramona on horseback proves him an animal painter of the talent of Landseer; his Mission buildings and landscapes are worthy of Fortuny.

It should be gratifying to Ramona lovers in California to know that the original paintings of Mr. Sandham, from which were taken the illustrations of the Pasadena Edition of Ramona, are in California, having been purchased and being now owned by Mr. C. C. Parker of Los Angeles, a book-dealer and a book-lover, who pays tribute always to Helen Hunt Jackson and lauds the artistic genius of Henry Sandham.

The wide range of Mr. Sandham's talent was beyond the ordinary. It would be difficult to name an artist who sketched and painted so many and such a variety of subjects as did he. He was equally brilliant with animate and inanimate things; portraits, landscapes, buildings, animals and character scenes and studies.

The Battle of Lexington, bought by public subscription, which now hangs in the city hall at Lexington, is his work. His picture


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of two moose in a death struggle was awarded a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition. In Canada his best known canvas is his portrait of Sir John Macdonald, at Ottawa, which the latter's widow has declared to be the ‘‘most speaking likeness’’ ever painted of Canada's greatest statesman.

The Canadian Government purchased and has at Ottawa several other of his paintings, the best being St. Mark's of Venice.

There was a Memorial Exhibition of Mr. Sandham's sketches and paintings, found in his studio after his death, at the Imperial Institute, London, under the patronage of all the former living Governors General of Canada, and the then recently appointed one, H. R. H., the Duke of Connaught; and other prominent persons, including United States Ambassador, Hon. Whitelaw Reid. One gallery was reserved entirely for the royal reception. Four hundred and sixty-six pictures and sketches of the dead artist were exhibited. In the list were these California subjects: ‘‘Death Bell of the Brothers,’’ Santa Barbara Mission; portrait, ‘‘Father Salvierderra’’; ‘‘California Hydraulic Mining’’; ‘‘Young Chinese Merchant’’; ‘‘On a California Ranch’’; ‘‘After Sundown’’; ‘‘The Priests' Garden,’’ Santa Barbara Mission;


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‘‘Cactus in Bloom’’; ‘‘Mountain Clouds’’; California.

During most of the time Mr. Sandham was in Los Angeles he made his home at the hacienda of Don Antonio and Doña Mariana de Coronel. Mrs. Jackson introduced him to this courteous and hospitable couple, and asked as a favor that he be permitted to be in their home, so, as Mrs. Jackson stated, he might hear stories of the Mission Indians and study and sketch them in life. She especially requested that the Coronels should select Indians as subjects for Mr. Sandham's work.

For two months at a time Mr. Sandham was at the Coronel home, working earnestly and constantly. His illustrations of Mrs. Jackson's writings were but a minor part of his drawings and paintings while in California. ‘‘He was an enthusiastic worker,’’ said Doña Mariana de Coronel to the authors. ‘‘I have known him to sketch and paint from four to five subjects in one day, all complete. My husband and I brought to him many Indians, men, women and children, dressed in their native costumes, and assisted in posing them for Mr. Sandham, who sketched and painted them. He was a most courteous and considerate gentleman. Whenever any person or thing


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attracted him, out came his pencil and sketchbook and he earnestly proceeded to work. I remember well one day I was returning to the kitchen from the orchard, carrying a panful of freshly picked peaches. He saw me, and I had to please him by stopping until he sketched me. He said he wanted the picture to send to his wife. Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Sandham were congenial and harmonious companions. Both were enthusiastic in their respective lines of labor.’’

From a source other than Señora de Coronel the authors have the information that Mr. Sandham pronounced her the best and nearest type of the Madonna he had ever seen in life. He painted a bust picture of her, which he kept in a prominent place in his eastern studio, which he always designated as ‘‘My California Madonna.’’

Mr. Sandham's description of an evening at the Coronel home is interesting, and evidences the pleasure of his stay there, and is here given:

‘‘We were sitting on the veranda, whence we could count thirty different kinds of roses, and Don Antonio in the gentle Spanish was telling us of the California of the past. Señora, his charming young wife, interpreted for us, often beginning a sentence before he had quite finished,


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their voices unconsciously blending in one harmonious chord, to which Don Antonio, leaning back, dressed in full Mexican costume, kept up a gentle accompaniment on the guitar. The various ranch hands, sauntering up, seated themselves in a semicircle at the foot of the stairs, a picturesque group in their broad-brimmed sombreros with serapes draped about their shoulders. In the deepening darkness the only lights came from the cigarettes of the men, whose interest, like our own, was concentrated on the recital of the Don. There, with music and the scent of roses filling the night, we lingered, to listen to stories of the forgotten past, and to learn of old customs of the California that was. It was here that we learned for the first time of the singing of the sunrise hymn so artistically introduced in Chapters V and XI of Ramona.’’

After witnessing the shearing of a band of sheep at ‘‘Lucky’’ Baldwin's ranch, Mrs. Jackson sat in an unusually prolonged silence. It was Mr. Sandham who said to her, ‘‘You are tired?’’; to which she thoughtfully and feelingly answered: ‘‘No; but for the first time in my life I appreciate the scriptural text, 'As a sheep before her shearers is dumb.'’’ ‘‘The helpless protest of the Mission Indians,’’ wrote


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Mr. Sandham, ‘‘had a new meaning for her from that moment.’’

 .

THE GRAPE ARBOR, CAMULOS, LEADING UP TO THE WILLOWS AT THE WASHING STONES

THE GUITAR AND ‘‘THE DEATH BELL’’

Henry Sandham's work is inseparably connected with Ramona. In conversing with him concerning the novel Mrs. Jackson was wont to designate it as ‘‘our book.’’

The original paintings from which the illustrations of the novel were taken should belong to the public, and to this end the authors are negotiating with the owner, that they may be placed for all time in the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art. They do mute but just tribute to Henry Sandham, companion and co-worker in California with Helen Hunt Jackson.

‘‘
His pieces so with live objects strive,
That both or pictures seem, or both alive,
Nature herself, amaz'd, does doubting stand,
Which is her own and which the painter's hand;
And does attempt the like with less success,
When her own work in twins she would express.
His all-resembling pencil did out-pass
The mimic imagery of looking-glass.
Nor was his life less perfect than his art,
Nor was his hand less erring than his heart,
There was no false or fading color there,
The figures sweet and full proportioned were.
’’

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