GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A piece of Michigan history will return home. On Wednesday, the Mackinac State Historic Parks announced it has purchased a pair of 18th century portraits with ties to Fort Michilimackinac.
The portraits, painted in 1790, portray British army Col. Arent DePeyster and his wife Rebecca. DePeyster was the commander of Fort Michilimackinac from 1774 through 1779 before moving to Fort Detroit.
According to the MSHP, the portraits were passed down through the DePeyster family for at least two centuries but were eventually put up for auction in London.
MSHP was tipped off to the find and used $47,000 from the Martin and Patricia Jahn Collections Development Fund to win the auction and add them to the park’s series of treasures.
“This is an exceptional addition to our collection,” MSHP Director Steve Brisson said in a release. “DePeyster was a prominent individual in the early history of this region, and it is gratifying to bring these treasures home to Michigan.”
According to Bellman’s Fine Art Auctioneers the board is sound for both portraits, but the varnish of the wood frames has some discoloring. There are a few “surface abrasions” on the portrait of Col. DePeyster but is in otherwise good condition.
The portraits are currently held by a conservator but are expected to be put on display at the Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum this summer. The museum is scheduled to open for the season on May 12.