April - Magazine Articles on American Miniatures

Magazine Articles
The Magazine Antiques has periodic articles about miniature portraits, which I would recommend tracking down and obtaining for anyone collecting American miniature portraits.

I have accumulated several back copy examples from recent years, which were purchased by looking for copies of the magazine on eBay, including;

December 1999 - Mrs Moses B Russell, Boston Miniaturist
November 2000 - Henry Benbridge
February 2002 - Portraits in Miniature, Anna Claypoole Peale and Caroline Schetky
November 2002 - Moses B Russell
November 2003 - John Wood Dodge
November 2004 - The Art of John Henry Brown

There is a more general article on American miniature portraits in The Magazine Antiques for April 2009, the cover showing here. It opens by mentioning the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

Unfortunately, there is not a portrait of Alexander Hamilton in this collection!

However, there is one of his grandson's wife and one of Aaron Burr, see Inman, Henry - portrait of Elizabeth Smith Nicoll and Unknown - portrait of Aaron Burr, also one of Aaron Burr's daughter Theodosia Burr Alston, see below and at Jarvis, John Wesley - portrait of Theodosia Burr Alston

The article is copyright, but The Magazine Antiques has been kind enough to make it available to anyone interested in American miniatures at,

The article goes on to comment on several American miniature portrait artists, including Edward Greene Malbone, considered by the article to be the "finest miniaturist in the United States", and who painted this miniature of an unknown man.

Certainly, his best works are outstanding, but to be fair, his quality was variable and the example showing here from this Artists and Ancestors collection, being an early work by him, is not one of his best works.

The images at the hyper-link to the article are also copyright and some are not all viewable at all, so I cannot show them here, thus if you want copies, you should try and obtain a copy of the magazine.

However, to try and assist visitors appreciate the work of some of the artists mentioned in the article, I have assembled some images from this collection which are by artists mentioned in the article, with hyper-links to more details about those miniatures.

Many miniatures are unsigned and so it is necessary to make attributions based upon stylistic clues. Even so, there can be friendly disagreement over attributions! Those shown here are believed to be largely correct, but there may be the odd error of attribution.

It would be great if The Magazine Antiques felt able to expand the number of miniature artists covered and then perhaps publish them together, as a reference publication or book on the subject of American miniature portraits.

There are few recent books on the subject. Information about the artists tends to be timeless, but reference books showing multiple examples by each artist are lacking.

The Cincinnati Art Museum did include a number of American miniatures in their "Perfect Likeness" book, which was helpful.

However, the subject is well overdue for a comprehensive "American Miniature Portrait Dictionary" covering the period 1740-1940.

The artists mentioned in the article include;
Edward Greene Malbone, Anson Dickinson, Joseph Wood, John Wesley Jarvis, Daniel Dickinson, Archibald Robertson, Robert Field, Charles Willson Peale, Richard Morrell Staigg, William Dunlap, Mary Way, Nathaniel Rogers, Henry Inman, and Thomas Seir Cummings.

This collection does not have works by all the artists named, but some are shown here, with multiple examples in a few instances, which helps to show how the artists changed their style over the years.
Malbone, Edward Greene - portrait of a man
Cummings, Thomas Seir - portrait of a man
Dickinson, Anson - portrait of a young man
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of David Ryerson
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of Master Bucknell
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of a young man
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of a man
Staigg, Richard Morrell - portrait of a man
Staigg, Richard Morrell - portrait of Colonel William Parsons Winchester
Jarvis, John Wesley - portrait of Theodosia Burr Alston
Comstock, Stout, and etc portraits for more by Rogers and Wood
Wood, Joseph - portrait of a man
Wood, Joseph - portrait of a lady
Wood, Joseph - portrait of a man

Naturally, every collector has their favorite artists and there is never enough space to show them all in print. Hence some interesting and talented artists did not make the April article in The Magazine Antiques. Thus this is an excuse to show here a selection of miniatures from this collection, by some of those artists who are felt worthy of an "honorable" mention!

Brown, John Henry - portrait of Mrs Maria Cadwalader
Champlain, Elizabeth Way - portrait of a young lady
Clark, Alvan - portrait of Ruth Morrison

Clark, Alvan - portrait of lady in pale lilac dress

Fraser, Charles - Mary Branford Shubrick
Dodge, John Wood - portrait of Eliza Jane Moffit Budd
Doyle, William - portrait of a lady

Freeman, George - portrait of a lady
Fulton, Robert - portrait of a man
Parker, Thomas - Professor William Tully

Peale, James - portrait of Dr Robert Hare
Peale, Raphaelle - portrait of a man
Peale, Raphaelle - portrait of a lady
Ramage, John - portrait of Garrit Van Horne
Robertson, Walter - portrait of a lady "C V"

Russell, Moses B - portrait of a young lady

Russell, Moses B - portrait of a man

Strobel, Louisa - portrait of a lady

Thielcke, Henry Daniel - portrait of an unknown lady

Wagner, Daniel and Maria Louisa - portrait of a lady

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