Obituary: Sara “Toni” Caldwell Junkin

obit-junkinsSara “Toni” Caldwell Junkin of Weston, Mass. and Boca Grande died on February 17, 2016.

A woman of intellect, grace and humor, Toni spent her professional career researching, writing, curating and lecturing about American art, international art and decorative arts. She was the subject of a portrait in the style of Caravaggio, Zorn and Sargent by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts artist, Warren Prosperi, and his wife, Lucia.

She was drawn to art history, particularly that of New England. A graduate of Beaver Country Day School and Vassar College, she received a PhD in 1986 from the American and New England Studies Program at Boston University. Her PhD dissertation on American expatriate painter Henry Bacon later led her to co-author a book titled, “Victorian Sentiment and American History Painting: Henry Bacon’s The Boston Boys and General Gage.” She curated wide-ranging exhibitions on such themes as the art and history of New England and Boca Grande watercolorist Francis Boardman Crowninshield, husband of Louise du Pont Crowninshield.

She spent five years managing and cataloging the art and decorative antiquities collection of Boston’s Somerset Club. Additionally she served as project manager for the Vose Archives’ Dictionary of American Painters.

A dedicated teacher, Toni was a professor and later Chair of Art History at Pine Manor College, guiding students toward their own careers as art historians and curators.

She also served on the board of directors of the New England Foundation for the Humanities, the Council of Historic New England and the Boca Grande Historical Society.

Toni’s love of antiquities and art complemented her numerous travels around the world with her husband, Joseph, from Europe to China, the Middle East and Australia.

In England she was invited to continue her studies in the Decorative Arts at the prestigious Attingham Program for the Study of the English Country House and, later, their Royal Collections Program at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

In her private life Toni was a beloved friend and cherished wife and mother. She was born on June 25, 1942 in Boston to Robert J. and Sara Caldwell. She leaves Joseph Swan Junkin, her husband of 53 years; sons Robert, Joseph and Angus Junkin; and seven grandchildren. Her sister, Katherine Caldwell Ives, and Herbert C. Caldwell also survive her in Massachusetts.

A memorial service is planned for later this spring. In lieu of flowers, if you wish to make a donation please consider Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in Wellesley Hills, Mass., curealz.org.