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Object Name Painting
Artist Wilkinson, Anna Maria Cecilia
Date 1892
Title [John Herbert Wilkinson rescuing a child]
Description Painting, oil on canvas, framed. Portrait of a fireman rescuing a child in front of a burning stairway, painted by Anna Maria Brown (married name Wilkinson). The fireman is John Herbert Wilkinson of New Brighton (1863-1941), a firefighter with Alert Hose Company No. 1. He is depicted wearing a red shirt with a neck scarf, trousers, and boots. He has dark, side-parted hair, long sideburns, and a moustache. He carries a young child in a white gown in one arm; one hand holds a speaking trumpet and the other hand holds his fire helmet. On the floor near his feet is a leather fire bucket marked with the number "1." The figures are surrounded by billowing smoke and flames. The painting is signed and dated at the lower right corner (in red): "A. M. BROWN, / 1892." Overall dimensions (including wooden frame) are 38.5 inches x 38.5 inches; canvas measures approximately 32 inches square.
(Keywords: Firefighter, Work Clothes, Occupational Clothing, NSFD, New York, Folk Art)
Ownership and History This portrait was made by amateur artist Anna Maria Brown, who was a teacher at PS 3 in New Brighton, Staten Island. The firefighter subject, John Herbert Wilkinson (1863-1941), became her husband in 1893, the year after it was painted. Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson had three daughters and resided at 130 York Avenue in New Brighton.

Mr. Wilkinson was devoted to the civic and community life of Staten Island. He worked as chief clerk in the Supreme Court of Richmond County for many years. He was a member of the Beacon Light Lodge of the Masons and was one of the organizers of Alert Hose Company No. 1 of New Brighton. An 1890s photograph of Alert's apparatus in front of its Jersey Street fire station shows this painting (or a copy) affixed to the front of the building.

The painting came to the Staten Island Historical Society as a gift of Marjorie Wilkinson (Mrs. Harold) Scheminger in 1953; she was the daughter of John and Anna Maria Wilkinson.

Earliest Date 1892
Latest Date 1892
Subjects Fire fighters
Fire fighting
Lexicon Sub-category Art
Associated People Wilkinson, John Herbert
Catalog Number P01.0145
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, 2011.
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.