I have no idea what the provenance of this bugle is before my great-aunt Grace B. (not to be confused with great-aunt Grace D.) got this. But it was quite prevalent at her atelier where she taught painting, and she used it in a number of still lifes. I remember one time being at her house and I am not sure of what the circumstances were but I and some girl from White Plains (I remember she was from White Plains; I have no idea what her name was, but I do recall she reminded e of Hayley Mills, maybe because that was the age one watches a lot of those Disney films with her like The Parent Trap, That Darn Cat, and the like). But somehow we had the bugle and we would hold it up to some of her portraits and say “look they’re playing the bugle!” Which was somehow hilarious.
I’m thinking it was some girl from her church? I don’t know. So anyway as kids — well, let’s say it was a stiff home — my great-aunt was a devout Christian Scientist, so what can I say, “fun” was not one of the first things on her mind when it came to entertaining children. But we did laugh and laugh holding the bugle up to paintings.
It wasn’t really fun for adults, either. Thanksgivings at her house were somewhat dour events with no smoking or drinking and all the usually family tensions, but with only cranberry juice to drink. I don’t recall them as particularly pleasant events but there’s a whole bunch of reasons for that. The horribly dry turkey I always remember, even though she had an Aga cooker, which were pretty rare in the States at that time; I was always fascinated by all those compartments and how they could all be at different temperatures. And somehow she ruined it anyway. At the time whatever drinking or smoking I did do was already in secret so as a teenager so the ban did not affect me as much as the rest of the adults.
When my cousin, her son, really my mother’s cousin, died in 2010, the house was being cleared out and I did see this and thought it was small enough to be a memento to keep. But I rarely paint still lifes with bugles so I’m ready to let it go.