(Above) As acquired, original watercolor and pen & ink drawing of Sing Sing Prison, in original frame from late 19th century.

(Above and below) Nothing makes your heart sink more than an artwork that has been against a wood backing for 100 years. You can just feel the acid burning—the pain.

(Above) The back of the framed watercolor. Ouch!


(Above) Poster from the 1932 Spencer Tracy, Betty Davis movie drama, “20,000 Years in Sing Sing.” Sing Sing and Alcatraz were the most infamous prisons of all time.

(Above) Newly framed watercolor in an acid free environment.


(Detail) Detail of inmates lined up in the Sing Sing Prison yard. (click image for larger view).


(Above) Detail... click for much larger view.


(Above) Detail. Praying for Survival... click for much larger view.

(Above) Detail... click for much larger view. Notice you can see the weather vane directions.

(Above) Detail... click for much larger view. Prisoner talks with prison guard.


ABOUT A MONTH AGO I WAS THE WINNING BIDDER ON EBAY for this beautiful anonymous watercolor and pen/ink drawing of Sing Sing Prison. Sing Sing—the original big house. Home of the electric chair—where prisoners went to spend their allotted time in hell.

This piece can be dated by the warden pictured in the drawing—I surmise his image was possibly traced from an engraving done during the period. The reason I say that is that the style of the warden’s image is different from the rest of the painting.

Warden W.R. Brown was at Sing Sing for only two years, between 1891 to 1893.

So, I thought it would be good to share this recent find with the readers of Accidental Mysteries— an opportunity to see a new item in my collection. Down the road, I plan to have this amazing piece of documentary history fully restored, but for now—it’s in a safe and archival environment.

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