January 3rd, 2010

Cost of a commissioned portrait in 1912

I am trying to figure out how much a fashionable portrait painter might charge in 1912. The painter is either American or British (I'm still deciding, and may well make my choice depending on the results of this search). His clients come from both sides of the Atlantic. He's well-established and popular, filling a niche similar to that of John Singer Sargent a few years earlier. A rough estimate or range is fine.

I've tried googling the word "portrait" in combination with various permutations of "cost," "price," or "commission" and "Edwardian" or "in 1912." Any variant of "cost" or "price" in those searches turns up recent auction prices and sites selling reproductions. "Commission" has just gotten very general mentions without any actual dollar or pound amounts attached. I've read the Wikipedia entries on John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase, and the material about Sargent on this site. I also looked at the Smithsonian's online collection of Sargent's letters, but found myself having an embarrassing degree of difficulty with his handwriting and was unable to determine if they contained anything relevant.

UPDATE: Thanks, folks! I've got an answer that's precise enough for my needs. I appreciate all the help and suggestions.

Early Conflict between Snow Shovelers and Snow Plows

Doing early planning work for a novel set in a north eastern US city, which doesn't really matter except that it involves a fair number of political dirty tricks including sabotaging the city's snow removal during a blizzard to make the incumbent mayor seem incompetent.

Many years ago I read a story about city workers protesting the introduction of snow plows by placing crowbars in the snow to mess up the works. My very fuzzy brain recalls this as Boston or Ottawa for some reason, but don't count on that. I need to know if anyone else recalls the details of this, if it was true, and what the crowbars actually did.

Any other suggestions for how to mess up city snow removal in a nasty political campaign would also be appreciated.

Google searching snow plows, unions, crowbars, sabotage, snow removal, and city workers all turned up nothing. But I do know where I can buy a good snow plow and a good crowbar in the same store ;). I read a couple histories of the snow plow, including one on weather.com, also of no use.