Study for The Marriage License, Norman Rockwell, 1955. Pencil and oil on board, 24" x 22". Study for cover illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, June 11, 1955. Norman Rockwell Museum Collection, NRM.1983.02. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.
Photographs from Norman Rockwell Museum Digital Collections. ©Norman Rockwell Family Agency. All rights reserved.
Set in the town clerk's office just footsteps away from Rockwell's first Stockbridge studio on Main Street, Marriage License captures Rockwell's fascination with the somber wood-paneled interiors of his favorite seventeenth-century Dutch painters. Indeed, the building itself is fashioned after one pictured in Jan Vermeer's A Street in Delft. In keeping with the older style, Rockwell replaced an existing metal file cabinet in the left foreground with an old railroad station stove. His model for the town clerk had recently lost his wife, and the authenticity of his feelings adds power to the poignancy in this study of youth and old age.