The portraits of Aaron Miller Osborn (1790-1827) and his wife Harriet Manning Osborn (1791-1829) were donated to the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood by a direct descendent, Professor Bradner W. Coursen. The donation dictated the portraits be hung in the small Osborn-Cannonball Museum which the Society manages. The Museum is the home that Jonathon Osborn, Aaron’s grandfather, built in the mid 1700’s. The portraits were attributed to the now wel
l-known New Jersey itinerant artist Micah Williams (1782-1837). These portraits were further unusual in that Williams painted them in oils, not his typical pastels, making them further special and valuable. Both portraits were in need of conservation, which was done by nationally known Paintings Conservator (Dr.) Joyce Hill Stoner at the Winterthur/UD studio. Indeed she made them “good as old.”
Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing is the ultimate glazing product! With its anti-reflective nature, its filtering out of harmful UV wavelengths, its reduction of glare, its anti-static quality and its abrasion resistant quality, it is no wonder it is used by 75% of museums worldwide.
Tru Vue is also generous. It teams with the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works to offer two awards per year known as FAIC grants. One of these grants enabled the small Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood to protect donated and valuable historic portraits.
After painting conservation, a second serious conservation problem emerged: providing the proper climate for the portraits in the historic museum that does not have any air conditioning. The humidity fluctuates wildly, which would be very deleterious to the portraits. Research yielded the answer of microclimate boxes, which totally enclose an artwork and provide a constant protected climate. The Tru Vue Optium Conservation Grant provided the museum quality glass and the funding to have the portraits framed at the Conservation Center for Arts and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, PA.
These magnificent Osborn portraits by Micah Williams now hang in the Osborn Cannonball Museum totally protected. Many for generations will enjoy them. The museum is open the first Sunday of every month and by appointment. Please come to see these incredible portraits conserved to their former glory and now protected in sealed packages. Many thanks are owed to Tru Vue and to the NJ Historical Commission for their grants which made this project possible for a small, all volunteer Historical Society.