"What To Do In a Blackout" Update
by Christine Detrick
As mentioned above, as model Betty Timmins' daughter, I've continued to search for more information about this original painting. My mother died in Virginia in 2001. Before her death she was interviewed by a reporter from a local paper during which she shared more details about her experience posing for Mr Rockwell.
She was signed with the Harry Conover Modeling Agency in New York. One day she received a call from the agency who told her she was to pose for Rockwell. She thought that was pretty exciting. Before she posed, Rockwell took her shopping on New York's 42nd Street, where he bought the red-feathered hat she wore in the illustration. "We both picked it out", she said. "He was a perfectionist".
In 2002 or 2003, I visited the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I brought items for the curator to archive regarding the history of the painting. She was very appreciative as the museum was lacking details on the many models that posed in his paintings.
During our visit, I asked if she knew the whereabouts of the original painting. She told me that the best information they can gather is that the painting, along with possibly some others, was damaged or destroyed in a fire that occurred at Mr Rockwell's artist studio. She felt that the fire may have been caused from ashes disposed from his pipe.
I hope you find this update helpful and informative. Thank you for mentioning my efforts to keep the public informed about the "story" behind this painting!
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