Jervis McEntee Diaries

Thursday December 19, 1872

Jervis McEntee Diary Entry, December 19, 1872, from the Jervis McEntee papers, 1850-1905, in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

Thursday, Dec 19, 1872- [attached is a newspaper notice of Kensett's funeral, noting among other things the pallbearers: Daniel Huntington, Worthington Whittredge, John W. Casilear, Sanford Gifford, Thomas Hicks, Richard Hubbard, Vincent Colyar, Jervis McEntee, Henry K Brown, John M. Falconer, Robert Hoe, George Olyphant.] Kensett's funeral is over. The annexed from the Tribune is substantially correct. Gifford and I went up through the snow and arrived just as they were carrying the body from his studio to the Academy. Mrs. Kellogg his sister sent down for Gertrude to come up and go to the church with the friends but the carriage did not come in time and so she walked to the church through a violent snow storm. It was raining when we left the Academy for the church but not violently and altogether it was a very gloomy day. But Kensett in his coffin looked almost like Kensett asleep even to the color in his face which was preserved so remarkably as to be the subject of remark by every one. Baker's portrait painted for Mr. Olyphant draped in black hung at his head the kindly eyes looking away from the dead Kensett lying below. Some thoughtful hand sent flowers from Lang to his best friend and also from his old friend Baker both of whom are in Europe. The services at the church were simple and in excellent taste and a feeling of the profoundest sympathy pervaded the people gathered there, all his personal friends. At the close of the services nearly everyone came to look upon his dead face and many were overcome. Mrs. Ward, Dr. Parmelee's daughter whom I have always understood Kensett loved, and if report be true was beloved by her once, lingered a little while about his coffin, stooped and picked up a flower that had fallen to the floor and laid it on his breast, leaned over and smoothed his hair upon his forehead and turned sadly away, who knows with what regrets and tender memories. Towards the last a poor Negro came to look at him, some one I dare say that he had been kind to. We took him to the cemetery in Second St. and he was put into a receiving vault until it should be decided where he is to be buried - and that is the last of poor Kensett's bodily presence whose spirit is with me more than ever before. When I got back home thoroughly chilled through I found Weir here and soon Eastman Johnson came in and we sat and talked of Kensett until nearly dark when Johnson went home. Weir and Gifford dined with us and Kensett was with us all the time and has not been absent from my mind today. This morning Gertrude and I went up to his studio to see Mrs. Kellogg whom we fortunately found there and with whom we talked for half an hour. She gave me some of the flowers from his coffin and I shall keep them among my treasures. Then we came home and I went to work upon a little picture I am painting in his memory. I began it before he died but I have never touched it since (and it has nearly all been painted since his death) that I have not thought of him constantly. It is looking out over a quiet but shadowy sea from the rough and rugged hills of Gloucester. A heavy curtain of solemn clouds hangs along the center of the picture with a quiet grey sky behind and along the far horizon stretches a band of light toward which a white bird is flying. Whittredge and Gifford are much interested in it but I have not told them what I mean in it. I think they feel it. I hope I shall never be obliged to sell it. This afternoon Mr. De Forest called with his sister-in-law to look at my pictures with a view to buying one but they did not come until four o'clock and then the sky had clouded up and it had grown so dark that they could not see them well. She said she would come again. While they were here Mr. Kauffman from Washington called with a friend and just at dark Mr. Ogden who was here a week ago to buy a picture came with a Mr. Wood. I showed them the pictures by gas light, but it was not satisfactory and they are to call again. Mr. Hoe sent me the check for his picture ($200) the difference on the trade we made. Gertrude who has felt very depressed since Kensetts death wanted to go to the theatre and so we went to Wallacks to see Sothern in Dundreary. It was snowing hard when we came home.

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