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Edwin Deakin Mission Watercolors
updated: Dec 02, 2013, 4:45 PM

Source: The Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Previously thought to be lost to the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco, a generous gift keeps this priceless collection intact for future generations of Santa Barbarans.

Santa Barbara Historical Museum is pleased to announce a generous gift to the collection, the sole watercolor suite of California mission paintings by artist historian Edwin Deakin (1838 - 1923). One of the earliest artists to record all 21 California missions in color, between 1897 and 1899, Deakin visited each Mission and made these field watercolor sketches, from which he later created two sets in oil for publication, the collection contains hand illuminated titles, an illustrated map, and has never been exhibited in a museum or published.

The purchase of this collection was made possible through the generosity of David Packard, Bernadette Castor, and Winifred Vedder, and Museum trustees John C. Woodward and Sally & David Martin. The Museum also wishes to thank local gallery owner Frank Goss, who facilitated the acquisition. John C. Woodward, a trustee and historian, was eager to assist in the acquisition. "When I first viewed these watercolors it struck me how important they were in California's history," says Woodward of the gift.

"Deakin documented the missions in the late 1800s as they were falling into ruin. His work had a profound impact on efforts to save them before they disappeared forever. The paintings had to be preserved and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum was the best repository for them."

"We are absolutely delighted to be able to add these watercolors to our permanent collection," said Warren Miller, Interim Executive Director, "and we're very grateful to the individuals whose generosity made this acquisition possible. Their contribution exemplifies the dedication and generosity necessary to continue growing the Museum."

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