The 2015 “Working Wood in the 18th Century” conference was held in the auditorium of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia. Much of my free time was spent roaming the galleries of the museum. At times it felt like old home week as there was so much carved material from the early 18th to the early 20th centuries made in Philadelphia to examine. But I found myself returning to a full size figure carving in yellow poplar of a three year old girl Amanda Armstrong (1844-1924) by the 23 year old Asa Ames who died less than four years after carving Amanda’s portrait. As the label notes, full size carved portraits were typically reserved for leading citizens and cultural icons. So it was quite unexpected to come across Amanda’s startling portrait then have to consider the sad fact that I will likely never see any other carved work produced by Asa Adams.

Asa Ames

Asa Ames

Asa Ames

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Asa Ames

Asa Ames

Asa Ames

Asa Ames

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Asa Ames

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