New Old Thorn portrait

I’m so excited to share this with you!! Last week, a doctoral candidate Alba Campo Rosilla from the University of Delaware got in contact with me to say that she is writing a dissertation on G P A Healy. In her research she discovered a portrait of Colonel Thorn, and who I believe is Ida (later Fox) and Ellen (later Kirkland) and Eugene Thorn (b. 1831; d.1876). If it is Eugene, it’s pretty exciting to see him for the first time!

Alba says, “I assume Healy painted this portrait first and then made the smaller version with the two girls, probably for himself, since the painting of the girls remained in Healy’s family…”

Here it is:

Family portrait of General (Colonel) Thorne, two of his daughters (Ida (L) and Ellen (R)) and son, Eugene, 1851/2.

Below is the painting of the girls alone, which I have blogged about before. You can see they are wearing the same dresses. I wish we could get a colour version of the one above – but I am so grateful to Alba for making contact with this gem!

Ida and Ellen Thorne (1851/2)


  1. What a self satisfied look father Thorn has..he knows his worth…interesting how we can’t see the young mans face…Healy certainly had a way of capturing his sitters inner self..thanks for finding and sharing


    • Yes, he does seem pretty pleased with himself. An air of superiority! I wonder if it is Eugene. I can’t imagine it would be anyone else. Thorn did like commissioning family portraits.


      • p.s. what you don’t see in his face is the tragedy of loss (several children) and the bitterness of disputes over money.


      • You’re right..more interesting is my husbands comment ..why so many of Col Thorn and none of his wife Jane Mary Jauncey ..especially considering she was the source of the wealth..maybe she was shy.. or just adverse to having her portrait painted..


      • Yes, she seems to be very much in his shadow. Hardly any info about her once she was married. I do have one portrait which I will send you. I’m fixated on finding out who her actress mother was. Any leads?


      • No.. but we always had the theory that the mother was of a quality that allowed her father and uncle be willing to raise her.. maybe she had died in childbirth before they could wed ..etc etc… just theories based on supposition..
        I did know of that portrait of Jane you know who painted it or where it is?


      • I agree.. just wonder if it was someone who had died.. hence can’t see his face..interesting how popular the name Eugene was..both in the Cruger family and the Thorn family


  2. I don’t know who the artist it. It was a repro from a book that Serge or one of the other relatives has. I will ask. The only thing I know about JMJ’s mother is that she was referred to as a “vulgar, lowly actress”. She was born out of wedlock and her father, James, took his own life.


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