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Birdie, the Williams' Pet Canary

On view

Birdie, the Williams' Pet Canary

Artist: Henry F. Darby (American, 1829 - 1897)

Date: c. 1869
Medium: Oil on canvas
Framed: 17 × 17 × 7 3/4in. (43.2 × 43.2 × 19.7cm)
Credit Line: Proctor Collection
Object number: PC. 24
Label Text
Rachel and Maria Williams, who grew up in Fountain Elms (today the Museum of Art's decorative arts galleries), kept pet canaries, with names such as Freddie and Birdie, throughout their lives. The birds not only provided Rachel and Maria music and entertainment, but also served as a method by which to teach responsibility; the young Williams daughters cleaned the cage and fed their pet.

A close friend of the Williams family, the artist Henry Darby often stayed at Fountain Elms while in Utica and painted numerous family portraits. Birdie snacks on seeds in front of a window that frames a majestic view of what might be the Mohawk Valley.

Anna T. D'Ambrosio

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