Ever since I read the October 2012 Georgetown Patch article "Portrait of Georgetown Woman Left for Her to Find," I knew that I wanted to acquire this amazing and beautiful painting of upper Georgetown fixture Joy Blair and her little dog Valentine by Nicole for the Peabody Room, the special collections of Georgetown neighborhood history.
The Peabody Room has five 19th-century portraits of Georgetowners; George Peabody, Yarrow Mamout, Francis Dodge, Sr., Jenkin Thomas, Mrs. Thomas (Eliza or Anne as he was twice married) and one 20th-century portrait of Henry Addison. The addition of Mrs. Blair's portrait by DC artist Nicole Burgea would be the collection's first painting created in the 21st-century.
A couple of weeks after the article appeared, I serendipitously ran into Mrs. Blair walking Valentine in the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue. I introduced myself and told her how I had read about the painting and would she be interested in donating it to the DC Public Library. She readily agreed as she was a patron of the library and enjoyed taking her granddaughter there.
Fast forward to today. Peabody Room volunteer Richard C. Hare and I were walking up the east side of Wisconsin Avenue after a wonderful lunch at Martin's Tavern (since 1933). Approaching Q Street I heard the barking sound of a little dog in the next block where Mrs. Blair lives and I said to Richard, "I bet that is Valentine so Mrs. Blair will be with her...I'm going to ask her about her painting!"
Sure enough it was them.
After wishing Mrs. Blair Happy New Year and introducing her to Richard, I mentioned the painting. She said she was having trouble coordinating the delivery of it it so I said, "Oh I can take it right now!" I said that because we were standing directly in front of the Bean Counter coffee shop, where the painting had been on display.
"Well, let's do it now!" Mrs. Blair happily exclaimed. Together we went into the Bean Counter while Richard watched over a "Valentine. One of the shop's employees helped me remove the 48" x 48" oil-on-canvas painting from the wall. I thanked Mrs. Blair, Valentino thanked me for returning Mrs. Blair, and off Richard and I went to the library located half a block away.
On the way up the 69 steps that lead up Book Hill Park to the library, two men coming down the stairs saw me with the painting and excitedly said, "Oh, that's Mrs. Blair!"
Georgetown is like that.