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MURRAY, Mabel


Location:
Present Whereabouts Unknown.

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Notes

The sitter was born in Concord, New Hampshire, her tomb in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington DC stating she was born February 7, 1876 and died September 16, 1904. Her parents were Talbot Chambers Murray (25 September 1841-18 September 1891; died of cerebral haemorrhage) and Susan Evelyn “Evie” Waugh Murray (1845-11 October 1922), of Richmond, VA, who were married 29 October 1874 in Washington DC.

In Washington Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, funds of $50,000 to erect the Bishop’s House and Chapel, by architect Henry Vaughan, were given by Mrs. Susan Evelyn Murray in memory of her daughter Mabel Murray. Ground was broken in 1911 and Bishop Murray blessed the house on 16th Street on Ascension Day, Tuesday, 7 February 1911 (see Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 2 July 1910 p.14, and Washington Herald, Saturday, 23 May 1911).

The following letter, dated January 31, 1915, written from Cathedral Close, Mount St. Albans, Washington D.C. indicates that the portrait was posthumous. It is in the artist’s papers:

‘My dear Mr Ury

At last my beloved Angels portrait is hung and I tell you it’s a great relief to my mind as many difficulties confronted me and having to meet all disagreeably alone makes it no easy task, but God is with me and as long as I feel that way obstacles dwindle. It was not hung in the hall as I had first planned but in the drawing room where you said was the only place for it outside the hall; before I go hence I shall see to it that a large hall will be set aside for an Art Hall where it will adorn the walls as it is so beautiful it would adorn any wall; it looks far prettier to me than before it was framed – your finishing touches added greatly. What I hope for now is some day an order come to you through your beautiful work so well done. One of our biggest church clergy said to me that when he first caught sight of the portrait an indescribable thrill went over him; all so far as I have heard think it very lovely. The frame was broken in two places so Mr. Carholt [?] reported as I had him come up with three of his men to see that it was hung properly & also repair the damage that was done the frame in packing and transit. I sent my check yesterday to Mr. Knoedler with his bill and feel glad it’s all over the only bill now being the one for the hanging which I guess for the work will seem large. I can’t tell you how near you feel to me and how much I would like to hear of great things coming to you – but you already possess one of nature’s loveliest gifts that is a most beautiful nature and charming personality. With deepest appreciation & heart’s best wishes, Sincerely,

                          Evelyn Murray.’


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