Laura Era Paints Anna Ella Carroll

Anna Ella Carroll, Civil War heroine is placed in her rightful chair
"First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln"
Maryland's Version painted by Laura Era after Francis B.Carpenter

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Maryland's Version of "First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln"
painted by Laura Era (2010) (after F.B. Carpenter)
Original painting by F. B. Carpenter (1864) used as reference for Laura Era's new painting (note the "empty" chair)

 

     REPAINTING HISTORY

      Portrait Artist, Laura Era,

  Paints the Unrecognized Member  
    of
 Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, 

      Anna Ella Carroll

You can’t keep a good woman down. Just ask well-known portrait artist and gallery owner, Laura Era, who has dedicated many hours to bringing to life the all-but-forgotten image of Anna Ella Carroll. More than a century following Carroll’s death, after being ignored, oppressed, and—literally—erased from history, Era has artfully restored Anna Ella Carroll to her rightful place in history.

Anna Ella Carroll was an intriguing and atypical 19th century woman who emerged from the male-dominated realm of war, politics, and diplomacy. As a key military strategist, Presidential advisor, and “unrecognized” member of Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, Carroll was probably the most powerful woman in America during the Civil War. Yet, her accomplishments are virtually unknown. When Carroll died in 1894, deprived of honor, title, pension, and acknowledgement, her life story was already considered a model for the Women’s Suffrage Movement. A modern biographer described Carroll as “hands downthe most important political woman of the 19th century.”

Laura Era was commissioned by a local group that wanted to bring Anna’s story back to the forefront with a popular image.  

 

She painstakingly painted a stylized replica of Francis Bicknell Carpenter’s famous 1864 painting “The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by President Lincoln.” Carpenter’s immense painting hangs over the west staircase in the Senate wing of the U.S. Capitol. Along with Lincoln and his cabinet members, it prominently depicts an empty chair draped with a red shawl, along with maps and notes similar to those Carroll carried. Many historians believe it was Carpenter’s way of acknowledging Carroll as the unrecognized member of the Cabinet. Era’s painting, titled “Maryland’s Version of The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation,” includes the addition of Anna Ella Carroll sitting in the previously empty chair and wearing the red shawl.

Carroll was born at Kingston Hall in Somerset County, and later lived in Dorchester County, Maryland also home to Laura Era, who has come to view Anna as a kindred spirit.