Ida Thorn

Ida Thorn was born in 1835 and married the older Mr Samuel Mickle Fox who was three years older than her, on a Wednesday, the 10th July (?) in 1857. The wedding took place at Herman Thorn’s and was conducted by the Rev. Dr. Pratt. Samuel had been previously married to his first cousin Mary Adele Livingston in 1852 who died.

Goerge (GPA) Healy painted her portrait as a 16 year old and it created quite a furore.

Here is a rather amusing news clipping about Ida’s wedding that refers to the portrait.

Ida and Samuel lived firstly in Westchester in 1860 and then in Livingstone, Columbia in 1865. There seem to have been several children that could have been hers and Samuel’s, though the birthdates here are different from those on the New York State Census. The latter has Ida Jr born in 1865, and a boy born the year before, but the first name is hard to make out. My guess is it does so Alfred. I’m not sure if Richard Fox is a real entry either, as I can’t find mention of him:

Samuel M. Fox b. 1 Oct 1858, buried 2 Oct 1858

Herman Thorn Fox b. 19 Apr 1859 d. 3 May 1914

Francis de Pau Fox b. 17 Nov 1860 d. 11 Dec 1893[14][15]

Richard Fox b. ca 1862 d. 24 Oct 1862[16]

Albert/Alfred Fox b. ca 1863 d. 23 Jan 1927[17]

Ida Fox b. ca 1863 d. 2 May 1867

When Ida died in Pau in France in 1867 at the age of 32, Herman Thorn Fox would have been 8 years old.

I’d like to thank Alba Campo Rosillo for alerting me to this copy of a painting of Ida Thorn by George Healy – one I have not previously a seen. The original was painted in 1853 (?) and was the provenance of Miss Angelica Livingston, New York, a granddaughter of Mr. Samuel M. Fox. Although Angelica died in 1959, the painting remains in a private collection. It is entitled, Mrs. Samuel M. Fox (Ida Thorne). The description reads: pale olive gray background, dark brown hair and eyes, white dress, black shawl.

Healy refers to painting this portrait in his memoir:

Among these Colonel Thorn and his family held a distinguished position. Their house in town and their chateau in the country were thrown open with grand hospitality, and 
the "Colonel Torn"— the "th" being impossible to pronounce for the French — was popular among all the fashionables of the day. His table was highly appreciated, his horses well known ; they were especially noted for their long flowing tails. The Colonel said to me with a twinkle in his eyes: "They don't know that I treat my horses' tails as women do their back hair; I add on a switch!" The Colonel was a remarkably handsome man, and his numerous daughters were nearly all beautiful. But the youngest was the most perfect of all as to features, I painted a portrait of this youngest daughter, Miss Ida Thorn, then a very young girl of about sixteen or seventeen. 

I would LOVE to see the original and intend to try and track down the current owner for a colour photo. If anyone has any suggestion on how to do that, I’m all ears!

The Frick photoarchives also have records of the Colonel Thorn and Family portrait (unkown location), and Baroness de Pierres and Daughter (In Newberry Library, Chicago)

Ida Thorne 1853 by G.P.A. Healy

….The subject of Healy’s exquisite portrait, now on exhibition at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, is said to be Misa Ida Thorn, the youngest daughter of Col. Thorn, the millionaire, of New York city, who resided many years in Paris, and to whom Mr Healy is said to be indebted in a measure for the good fortune that has attended him. So many questions were asked about the beautiful original, that her name was at length written in pencil upon a piece of paper and appended to the picture…

She was also painted two years earlier in a family portrait, of which this is a closeup.

Ida Thorn Fox

Samuel Fox’s first wife was his cousin, Marie Adele Livingston (below), who died in 1855. I wonder if she died in childbirth?


  1. I love that Healey painted her and Euphemia Van R Cruger..the inter connectedness of their world…

    Sent from my iPad



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