Jane Trask Rosen Restoration Project

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When I was a child, a weathered old document always hung somewhere, in a hall or the corner of a room in whatever house we were in. I never knew what it was, but was always intrigued by the elaborate decorations that wound their way around the script in the center. Small empty wooden rowboats, tall masted ships, winged cherubs playing trumpets, a strange recumbent lion with an agonized woman’s face, a proud explorer with his boot on some sort of fallen shield and planting an enormous billowing flag, dark clouds and lightning flashes, all surrounded lines of spidery old-fashioned writing. It seemed to be a certificate of some sort, honoring someone named Henry Bicker, whose name was inscribed in the center. His name was all I could make out; I couldn’t read any of the rest of it, as the letters were strange and illegible and included words like whereof and hereunto. All I knew was that Henry Bicker (the one word I could read) was someone important to me, as my middle name was Bicker. But why I had that name, I didn’t know.

When I was older, I learned from my father what the document was: a certificate stating that Henry Bicker was a member of the Society of Cincinnati, a group composed of officers who were members of George Washington’s staff during the Revolutionary War. The document was signed by George Washington, as well as by Henry Knox, Secretary of the Treasury, and was dated October 1, 1785. My father told me that Henry Bicker was a direct ancestor of his, and that his wife was Jane Bicker, after whom I was named.

The society took its name from the Roman hero Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, a farmer who left his plow in the middle of the field to become the leader of a successful military campaign. When the fighting was over he returned to his plow and went back to farming. He was believed to represent an ideal of the citizen-soldier. In recognition of this, The Society of Cincinnati claims to be founded “to preserve the ideals of fellowship of the officers of the Continental Army who served in the Revolutionary War.” Membership is expected to pass down through the generations, from oldest son to oldest son. It is the oldest hereditary society in the United States.

In my family, it turned out that there were no sons at all in the generations that followed Henry Bicker, so the document was passed from oldest daughter to oldest daughter, finally coming to my father sometime in the 1930’s. My father told me that an uncle of his, who wanted the document himself, had spent considerable effort and money trying to establish his right to membership in the Society. However, the governors of the Society had not accepted his credentials, so the document remained on the walls of my parents’ house. After my father’s death, my three siblings decided that the document should come to me, as I bear the name of Jane Bicker, Henry Bicker’s wife.

The document moved with me from Connecticut to Massachusetts and eventually to California, where it hung on a dark wall, to protect it from fading in the western sun. However, one day in May 2019, I noticed that its frame was chipped and cracked and needed obvious repair. I took it to Galleria Scola in Oakland, originally only for repair to the frame. Elida Scola recognized the historical value of the document and offered not only to repair the frame but to have the document cleaned in order to preserve it. I was glad to leave it in her capable hands. A few weeks later, I picked it up: a document clear of years of dust and dirt, the writing legible, in a remade frame, and covered in non-reflective glass. It is a treasure. I will always be grateful to Elida Scola and her gallery for their expertise in repair and restoration.




Give It Your Best

This beautiful 1942 American flag poster is a stone lithograph print backed with linen to preserve its fragile paper stock. It was created as propaganda for World War II. We framed it in a black over red step back profile frame rubbed and polished to reveal traces of red.

Tangier Storyteller

This is a very interesting piece of artwork. it’s a watercolor on paper that was done about 100 years ago of a Tangiers storyteller just had a very old acidic mat on it and we decided to take it off in preparation for the new framing. More will be revealed later.

Making Summer Last

Memories of hot days in Sea Isle City, New Jersey are splashing around in my head today. The sand under my beach chair, a soft towel, the sound of crashing surf and the ice chest with hoagies and cold Coke. Everything I wanted and needed was right there. My childhood dream is of full days where time slowed down and so did we. My brother Anthony was an expert drip sand castle maker. He would sit for hours loading wet sand into his semi closed fist allowing the mix to drip slowly into castle turrets. As soon as the sand drops hit the hillock beneath they would freeze in place until the weight collapse the tower and the whole process started again. Periodic dips in the cold salt water jolted us from a burning sun induced lethargy into a state of all nerve endings on. We jumped over, dove under and got knocked down by the power packed waves until mom saw lips turning blue and shivers coming on. “I’m not cold.”, I would swear. We had to stop playing and sit in the sun until color returned. There must be photographic images of us on the beach but the picture of the green and white striped umbrella, wooden folding chairs covered with striped muslin and the red Coca Cola ice chest are etched in my mind. These are old flashbacks. I know because in them I carry the bottom half of the wooden umbrella and I have to stop to rest a couple times on the way to our special place in the sun.