13 Aug


UPDATE: “ALONE” ARTIST IDENTIFIED My stepbrother (who was so cool to give me a brand new Garmin GPS tracker for Christmas) was looking over my blog today and came across this entry and said: “Hey! I know that artist!” Well it turns out its Herman Alfred Leonard Wahlberg, a Swedish artist born in Stockholm February 13, 1834 and died October 4, 1906.   Nordic landscape painting was popular during those years, and this Swedish landscape is typical of the Dusseldorf version of wilderness paintings. Known as just “Alfred Wahlberg” you can see a picture of him here

(Original post follows): There are numerous known and unknown people all over Fall River and environs who have “stuff” that belonged to Lizzie. On my last visit while shopping at an outlet store at the Durfee Mills I chatted with the store owner who told me she had an old rocking chair that belonged to Lizzie and if I came back she’d show me a picture of it. I never made it back but we did exchange addresses and I’ve yet to write her. Meanwhile, here’s something I can relate and show now.

(Original post from 2007) Some months ago, Jeff Masson of Somerset, MA noticed an elderly gentleman admiring the house he lives in and Jeff, his mother and this man got to talking. Eventually the subject of Lizzie Borden came up (Jeff is a frequent visitor to the Lizzie Borden B&B and has a keen knowledge of the Bordens and others buried at Oak Grove Cemetery in Fall River.) During the conversation the gentleman, Elliott Barrows of Somerset, related that he had a painting that was given to his grandfather by Lizzie Borden.

The story goes that Lizzie had some work done at her house she named “Maplecroft” #7 French Street (now 306) in Fall River, and it was Mr. Barrows’ grandfather who did the work – “handyman” kind of work, not major construction. The painting below apparently hung in Lizzie’s house and Lizzie, so the tale goes, gave Mr. Barrows the painting as partial payment for his labor. Just exactly when this occurred is not known. Mr. Barrows subsequently brought the actual painting back to Jeff’s house and allowed him to keep it for a while and to photograph it, which are the images you see here. Remarkably, Mr. Barrows stated the painting had been appraised for $8,000.

The handwritten notation on the back of the painting reads as follows:

“This picture framed for the house of Lisbeth and Emma Borden, 306 French St. Fall River, Mass whose father Andrew Jackson Borden and stepmother, Abby Durfee Gray Borden were murdered at their house, 92 Second St., Fall River, Mas, Aug. 4, 1892. The trial was held in June 1893.”  (and below) “Alone” by (unreadable) Art Supplement to the New York Recorder Sept 30th, 1894. The Knapp Co. Str.  N.Y. Famous Paintings of Europe.” 

It is very hard to distinguish the lettering in the name of the artist but it appears to be an “L” or “F” and then “V” and Rberg or Aberg. I believe this is a swedish artist.

There is a rather famous painting by Dawn Parkinson titled “Alone” showing a lone seagull soaring past a white chaulked cliff. Searching through various artbooks, Googling the name in assorted variations yielded no results. Unfortunately Mr. Barrows was not available for an interview on my most recent visit to Fall River. I’m currently awaiting follow-up from “Cemetery Jeff”. I know several people pursuing this find further as well, so maybe more information will be forthcoming.

The painting certainly evokes melancholy sadness and makes us wonder what it meant to Lizzie. I can not think it meant a great deal because to just give it away as partial payment to a handyman is not what one would do with a piece of art for which they had a strong emotional attachment. Perhaps this painting was a gift she received rather than a purchase made. Perhaps gazing upon it evoked emotions for an already sad and depressed woman to be even sadder. Maybe it clashed with that garish wallpaper of Victorian times. Who knows. But it’s a great little story, isn’t it?



  1. searching for painter

    December 22, 2007 at 2:10 PM

    I have a copy of this painting and was fortunate to come across this webpage. It came from my great great grandfather. The family story is that it came from Sweden. I was looking for the name of the painter when I stumbled upon your posting. Have you made any progress into the details of who the painter might have been. I am a student at a University in the US and used the University’s art resources to look for the painter. I have found someone who might make a match….Herman Alfred Leonard Wahlberg. He was a Swedish artist born in 1834 and died in 1906. I was wondering what your opinion was on if this could be a match and if you had any other leads.

  2. phayemuss

    December 26, 2007 at 10:24 AM

    My stepbrother says its the same Alfred Wahlberg, tho an extensive Google search, while producing a few of his more popular paintings, did not show “Alone”. At this point, I’m taking Kenny’s word for it until something more comes up. Let me know if you hear anything more.


      June 23, 2010 at 1:20 PM

      Hi, I just had to let you know what I know about this art that is said to be called ‘alone’. I really would like to find more history on it.
      I have in my possesion, a ‘reverse glass ‘identical’ painting as yours. I was owned my my great grand father when he was a AnaBaptist minister in Poland and Germany until he fled for the states in 1860 (aprox). Where he settled down in South Dak. to begin a Mennonite following there. My mother died in 1980 and I ask her if I could have it. It facinated me. It was painted on beveled glass and hung by a copper chain from corner ot corner. It lay in our cellar for many years when I was a child and the corners were cracked and I had it cleaned and partially mended by an elderely gent in Bakersfield CA in 1986. Because reverse glass cannot be copied, I wondered if the gent took photos of it and sold them. I’ve never been able to find out.

      • Anonymous

        July 14, 2011 at 10:55 PM

        Isn’t it just too strange that I have the ‘reverse glass painting’ identical to this one of your’s above. How can they be so much alike when reverse glass is one of a kind because of the type of art it is. Mine dates back to early to mid 1800 as it came with my great grand father, Benjamin Schmidt from Poland, who was an Anbaptist minister.

      • ilene

        November 16, 2011 at 4:23 AM


        I have in my possesion, a ‘reverse glass ‘identical’ painting as yours. I remember it use to hang in my grandmothers house in Tishomingo,OK. My grand father was a senator of OK in 1922. His name was Joe S Ratliff. I as well have been fascinated by it since I was a child. Mine is hung with a chain almost pristine condition. on the back in pencil it has the number 16 penciled thru and the the number 115 and the Alone in cursive. Do you have any more information on this i would love to have it.

      • richard ingram

        June 10, 2012 at 9:19 AM

        I too, have a reverse glass copy that was always hung in my grandmothers home. It was on beveled glass and had a chain from corner to corner. I have had it matted and framed and is a favorite of mine. I met somone in my area who said they had a copy as well. It must have been a comercial success, back in the day.

    • Mary Scharosch

      September 8, 2011 at 7:01 PM


      This is a mystey. I have this painting “Alone and Forsaken” is what I thought it was called. How can there be so many “originals”. I bought it very cheap and enjoyed it for years so no loss but I am curious. I understand there were different artists who painted this scene one was Heinrich Voseberg, 1833-1891 and Herman Alfred Leonard Wahlberg, 1834-1906. There also was a priest that painted it. Mine is not signed that I can see although it is quite dirty and I have hesitated to clean it. Do you have any information about this painting? Anyway, I find this all fun and hope to unravel this mystery.

      • phayemuss

        September 9, 2011 at 11:59 AM

        Hi Mary: All I know about this painting I have posted on several blogs. Search “Alone painting” on here to find all posts. Thanks!

  3. Susan T.

    April 12, 2009 at 5:42 PM

    I have a very old print of the “ALONE” painting that belonged to Lizzie Borden. How can I find out how much it might be worth, and how would I go about selling it?

  4. Leo Comallie

    April 15, 2009 at 5:43 PM

    This is Leo Comallie in Alamogordo NM.
    I saw your posting on the Web related to a painting like this.

    Mine is on very old oil on a 14X27 canvas, since looking at different web pages I have found two others almost identical and now really very curious as which is original. Mine is titled Alone but no artist signatures, as are the others.If you have any knowledge or thoughts regarding this painting I would like to hear from you.
    Further info at…

    Thank You
    Leo Comallie in NM Ps Send your email so I can send actual photo

    • phayemuss

      April 15, 2009 at 7:11 PM

      Hello Leo. Thanks for posting. My email is: It’s on my “About Me” page. Please email me the images of your “Alone” paintings and I’ll tell you what I think. 🙂
      I assume you have seen the post I made of this painting – or a copy of it anyway – which belonged to Lizzie Borden.

  5. jim derendinger

    April 20, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    I have what I believe to be the original and find all this talk facinating, my painting is 17″ high and 37″ long painted on canvas and streached on an old window shutter. My research thus far has taken me to the artisr Fr. Janssen and also his sig is on the painting. it was painted in the early 1880 s prior to his saint hood in the religious order he attended. I wnder stand that there are several similar to copies out there and very much like mine. If you would like a pic I would be glad to e-mail you one thanks jim derendinger

  6. phayemuss

    April 21, 2009 at 7:24 AM

    Yes, please do email me an image of what you have. This is intriguing!

  7. Bo

    July 26, 2009 at 2:38 PM

    I have a copy as well. It was found in the attic of my girlfriend’s great grandmother. She had it framed. It looks to be oil paint and the canvas has large blank edges with writing on it. It is signed H. Vosberg 1887 on the bottom left. Send me your email and I will send you a pic.

  8. Kristy

    September 16, 2009 at 1:18 AM

    Hi, I bought a print of “Alone” at a garage sale for $5.00. This is the first site I’ve found with any info!!! My print has no signature, but it is in color and framed in a beautiful reddish and gold frame. The printing at the bottom reads: “Published by Amlica (sp?) Publishing Co., NY Printed in America. There is a number “3” under that. On the right it reads “The KNAPP CO LITH NY. I love this print, although it is a bit melancholy. I will send you a pic of it if you’d like. Thank you, Kris

  9. Donna Teeter

    December 26, 2009 at 7:04 PM

    I also have a painting this. It appears to be old, in a very old frame, somewhat darkish (?like night time) with a full moon in the painting. Minen is on a board not canvas but with no signature or date that I can find. I was surprised to see similar painting listed on ebay. I just liked the painting but would love to learn more about it or the artist.

  10. Tiffany

    January 26, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    Hello I just bought what I eliev to be the original painting that hung in the home of lizzie borden, it looks very old and it says ALONE in the right bottom I was told this was the original, i can send pics please help me or please guide me to someone that can really appraise it ?? THANKS Tiffany email is

  11. Pam White

    July 13, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    Hi – I have had a framed pic of an old country scene in my shed for some years. We are now moving house and having a clear out. We realised that there was a pic behind the country scene and my husband has tonight taken the back off the frame off and lo and behold there is a black and white copy of the “Alone” pic you are all referring to. It is somewhat waterdamaged but is still very beautiful – the frame is a bit weather beaten but I love the pic so much I now intend to keep it and am so glad it didn’t get sent to the local recycling dump!!!! It has the name H Vosberg 1887 in the bottom left hand corner. I don’t know or care who the original artist was – it is a very evocative picture and I am pleased and delighted to have come across it.

  12. Anonymous

    August 14, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Hello all this is Eliot Burrows of Somerset, MA……elderly gentleman???? I’m 62 and just got back from rollerblading 4 miles.

    I own the lithograph of “Alone” that belonged to Lizzie and Emma Borden, My grandfather John Burrows owned an asphalt plant in Fall River in the 1930’s and paved over the cobblestone streets.

    As I was told the painting was given to my grandfather as partial payment for a driveway he paved for someone.

    Eliot Burrows

  13. phayemuss

    August 14, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    hELLO Eliot: I just got back from Fall River this week and would love to have met you. Too bad you had not posted this earlier. At the time Jeff first brought this painting to my attention I asked if he could put me in contact with you but that did not happen. If you’ve noticed there are several posts on my blog aboutt this piainting. Seems it was very popular and reproduced in various forms over decades.

    Sorry if I offended with the “elderly” descriptor…I’m 67 and don’t consider myself elderly. At 62 and rollerblading you are young, young, young!

  14. Michele Shane

    June 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    I too have this same painting, a friend googled a girl in a boat and the painting came right up and brought us here, I bought my actual real painting from an Episcopal church sale maybe 15 years ago and they said many of the things i picked up that day came from one of the old priest, they at the time believed it was his. ON the back of my painting in pencil i believe it says Miss Linsay and then 112 there is a very old wooden cover for the back of it and i can send you pictures if you wish to see them, Are you able to tell any more about the painting and how many artist did the same painting, i did not see a signature on the painting though, maybe i am not looking in the right spot for it, i love this painting and know that its very very very old. Any help would be appreciated.

  15. phayemuss

    June 13, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    I have done 4 or 5 posts about this painting. Check the URL I gave above to be directed to the others. All I know of it is contained in my blog posts. 🙂

  16. Tim

    September 17, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    I may have the original. Check this out!

    • Scottie

      September 20, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      I have this exact painting in an original frame for the time period. I am sure all of these “finds” are just copies. I have seen an album with “alone” on the cover from the 1900’s.
      Many artists went to museums and made copies of paintings so I assume mine is one of those. Take your painting to the History Detective on TV. This would be very interesting.

    • Roberta

      September 20, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      I wish I knew why this painting is such a mystery. I too have a painting just like this one, only much different than any other I can find in my searches. I probably will have to spend the money to have it researched to get to the bottom of it.
      My painting, is not on paper or canvas, but is on glass. It came to the US in the year 1860 with my great grand father and his family when they were fleeing from Poland and Germany. He brought the reverse glass painting with him. It was handed down to his son, then my mother and then me. It hung on a copper linked chain around the sculpted antique glass it is painted on. I had it framed in 1986 as it was frail and cracked on the corners.. Reverse glass cannot be reproduced. …Roberta

      • Roberta

        September 23, 2012 at 8:35 AM

        Thank you, I will do that. What is so perplexing is that this is not on canvas, it is reverse glass which was extremely rare back then. Thanks.

  17. Adrian Van

    November 3, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    I also have what i think is a print of this picture, i purchased it at an auction some ten years ago from two sisters that were going into a nursing home one was 101 yrs old and her sister was 103. Every thing in the house was kept amazingly clean. I fell in love with the picture and bought it. It is behind glass really old matting around it in a really old frame of very dark wood. I always wondered about it. All it says in middle of matting is (Alone). Was always going to take in some place to see if anyone knew anything about it and if it was worth anything.

  18. Anonymous

    September 20, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    I have a painting or print of Alone

  19. K. Fox

    May 9, 2015 at 5:10 AM

    I have a 24 1/2 x 16 oil on canvas. I do not see a signature or title.
    Perhaps more is discovered from the back of this painting. The stretcher frame holding the canvas has “Dec. 21 1886” stamped onto it.The frame itself is very old also. In the corners are wood shims holding the frame together.
    The painting is in good condition. I purchased it at a consignment shop here in MD a few years ago.
    Unfortunately, the owners of the shop couldn’t tell me anything about the painting or the prior owner.
    Thank you for your posting of information here.
    K. Fox

    • Anonymous

      May 9, 2015 at 4:54 PM

      I have one just like it – bought it in California. Appears old, but there are so many of those around I am sure they cannot be genuine.

      • phayemuss

        May 13, 2015 at 5:17 PM

        Would you like to have it hung at “Maplecroft” with a little plagque giving you credit?


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