“A Portrait Study” (In The Galleries)
Portrait Bust (medium unknown)
“Edyth Deacon” was registered with that spelling in the SMFA student list: Modelling 1910-11, Afternoons 1909-10. Allen and Deacon were classmates. She was in his address book and entered in his Diary. Their teacher, Bela Pratt, wrote in a letter to his mother on April 14, 1912 that “He … has a commission for a bust of one of the wealthy girls in the class.” His diary backs that up: “Commission for Miss Deacon’s bust” is recorded December 1, 1910. He writes that she introduced him to a millionaire friend, Saltonstall Peabody and Ames) and secured commissions for him to do other work (Meyer’s bust and Jordan Statuette).
Although all available facts do not match exactly, there is enough coinciding evidence to come to the conclusion that this unidentified “Portrait Study” published in “In the Galleries” with “Hermes”, is Edith/Edyth Deacon the elite socialite. Perhaps for privacy her name was not published, but comparing the photo of the bust with the photo from her wedding announcement, there are enough similarities in the face to back up the supposition.
She is a beautiful woman! She and her sisters were all praised as great beauties of their time. Edith’s engagement had been announced in 1910 at the wedding of her sister to Prince Radziwill, but the ceremony was postponed twice, making the date of 1912 plausible. Records at the Museum School are incomplete given the “house cleaning” of a former new school director who wanted to start over, so Edyth may have remained a student past the dates above. According to Bela Pratt’s letter and Allen’s diary, she was still a student in 1912.
Allen had progressed far by the time Pratt wrote his letter. He had added at the time, “I advised him to either change his school or start to work by himself for a while as he was making but little progress at the Museum School where he had already been four years. The way he has taken hold makes me think that my advice was right.