Still Life Theorem in Grisaille, 19th century, pencil and watercolor on paper, stencil cut, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.210.
Dimensions14 1⁄8 x 10 in. (35.8 x 25.3 cm)
The header image is of a contemporary stencil-cut piece of artwork called Rubaiyat created by Aditya Rao and was sourced from one of the many decorative borders used in various editions of Omar’s quatrains: ornate and exquisitely wrought borders evident in the earliest of the Rubaiyat editions and something a man with artistic bent might make use of in 1948. The job far easier to complete when the artwork is already done .
Perhaps Prof. Abbott wasn’t that far off the mark when he remarked that the largish envelopes would fit decorative cards the Somerton Man had yet to buy. An artisan on the other hand would be skilful enough to make his own.