RobertBallHughes.com is now 5 years old. I started the website in February 2008, not knowing that it would grow to about 115 pages by 2013. An introductory Home page and the Biography page were the first pages.
In May 2008, I started the Friends of Robert Ball Hughes blog to keep Followers updated with the progress of the site and to connect with Visitors.
Early on, I added the tagline: “For descendants and friends of the eminent 19th century sculptor and artist, Ball Hughes.” I think it portrays my intent to make the site for everyone interested in Robert Ball Hughes.
He was praised by his family and called “the eminent sculptor” by many. We cannot separate the artist and his family though. The story is about the artist, who had a talent from God, and his family.
Members of the second branch of the Brown family found the site and got in touch with me in 2008. Both branches are descendant from Robert and Eliza Ball Hughes’s younger daughter, Augusta, and her husband, Benjamin Franklin Brown.
My Grandfather, Henry Abbot Brown, and his brother, Frederick Rudolf Brown, were both born in Boston but moved to different states. Sometime after my Grandfather passed away in Buffalo, NY in 1935, the families lost contact with each other.
Artifacts from the Ball Hughes family have been passed done through the Brown family for 150 years and are widely dispersed around the country.
My parents had The First Pokerism (1849), by Ball Hughes, and The English Gypsies (1870) watercolor by Eliza Ball Hughes. Other Brown family members have generously provided photos of their artwork and documents.
By October, 2008, I had over 50 webpages started. Much of the public information about Ball Hughes's famous works was easy to find online. The book, Good Old Dorchester by William Dana Orcutt, provided the first biography of Ball Hughes and his family.
I also ordered books from out-of-town libraries through Inter-Library Loan and contacted various historians and art experts for more information.
The Sketch of the Life of Robert Ball Hughes by Mrs. E. Ball Hughes provided a goldmine of information about Ball Hughes and his family that never would have been known.
It’s a personal, first-hand account by his wife Eliza. The more I read it, the more amazed and humbled I am. It’s the most valuable document that we have been blessed to have preserved for future generations.
In 2013, I hope to add more information about the sculptures by Ball Hughes and develop a Sculpture Index. That’s when I’m not busy teaching electronics and selling used books on Amazon!