In addition to being a wonderful piece of American folk art, this watercolor and pen and ink on paper gives some good insight into one of the courting customs of the 18th and 19th centuries. Often, when young people were "seeing" each other, they would leave little love notes in prearranged places for their partner, either to arrange a tryst, or just to express their feelings.
This charming painting depicts just such an instance, with the attractive young woman leaving a note in the hollow of a tree trunk. She is in a small glen, surrounded by trees, lush foliage and a flowering plant in the foreground, while a house can be seen in the background. Her pink dress is a nice foil to the greens and browns of the natural environment.
What makes this fine example (which was picked fresh from a home in Connecticut some years ago) even more special is that it is titled "The Love Letter" on the bottom, and in the lower right corner it is signed "Ellen Celestina Marcy," dated 1846, and has the location Woodbury. It is very rare to find folk art watercolors with such complete information associated with them. The margins, title, and signature information were done in pen and ink.
The piece is in excellent condition, with vibrant colors, and no tears. There is a small abrasion in the very top left of the painting. The period gilded frame might be original. Sight size is 13 1/2" by 9 3/4", and the framed size is 15 1/4" by 11 3/8".
A superb example for any folk art collection, or to grace the wall of one's home.