With the likes of Abraham Wood and Anthony Flower working as artists in Queens County, it is little wonder that an interest in fine art carried through to subsequent generations. Annie Hewlett Deveber (1855-1927), Gagetown was clearly inspired by the works of these men with her copies of their work and her own still lifes of leaves and ferns. Working in watercolour, her ability to capture the fine details of an object in front of her is exceptional. The still lifes and her ceramic paintings are certainly her forte with landscapes presenting more of a challenge for her. In our collection is a landscape of the Otty homestead in Kings County which is a copy of an Abraham Wood painting in the collection of the New Brunswick Museum. In comparing the works side by side, one can appreciate both the talent of Mrs. Deveber but also the superior skill of Reverend Wood. The Deveber work is a very good copy and it is clear she was learning as she worked, however a naivety appear in her work with awkward details in elements such as stones and the nuances of sky. For Art Under the Influence, the painting of Ferns, c. 1900 was exhibited and in turn inspired a work of jewellery by Gagetown artisan, Jean Fraser.
Annie Hewlett Deveber was the wife Gabriel Deveber IV (1854-1934), the son of Gabriel Deveber III (1820-1854) and Benjamina Gabriella Deveber (1822-1892) of Gagetown. Annie married Gabriel IV somewhat later in life given the standards of the day on 27 August 1889 at the age of 34. She was the youngest daughter of Richard Hewlett (c. 1797-1887) and Margaret Paddock (c. 1813-1873). Annie and Gabriel had one child, Gabrielle, born in November 1890 but who died a few months later in August 1891 of “congestion of the brain”.
The Devebers lived in the magnificent gothic house in Gagetown, built 1852-1854 by Lorenzo Langen, called Claremont. The house is based upon one of Andrew Jackson Downing’s plans for Victorian cottages and houses and is one of the finest buildings along the St. John River. The family itself includes several prominent Loyalists and early leaders of Gagetown and Queens County. Gabriel IV’s grandfather was Nathaniel Deveber (1785-1877), the High Sheriff of Queens County for decades.
As we count the days to Christmas, one of our favourite objects is this little holiday greeting dated 20 December 1884. Queens County Heritage is proud to possess several other examples of Annie Hewlett Deveber’s works including a Bohemian glass vase from about 1900. As noted above, little is known about her background or training, however her work is recognized as very fine and more than competent.
To see the works of Annie Hewlett Deveber in person, be sure to stop by next summer to see the pieces close-up!