Time has been found to catch up on and add to the collection, several American miniature portraits acquired at various times in the past year or so.
This first miniature portrait was painted by a British artist in England, but has been included in an American Gallery as it is of a famous 19C American maths prodigy and thus a very lucky purchase. The vendor did not realise that and so it was merely advertised as;
Albin Roberts BURT (1783 – 1842) “Zerah Cobourn”. A portrait of a youthful Oxford academic bedecked in his gown, possibly an American as no British census records exist for the name Zerah Cobourn.
Some of the writing on the rear is hard to read, but Zerah Cobourn (for Colburn) can be read at the top. He was born on 1 September 1804 and died on 2 March 1839, being a child prodigy of the 19th century who gained fame as a mental calculator. There is more about him at Zerah Colburn (math prodigy) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia He also wrote a book about his life which is available at A memoir of Zerah Colburn: written by himself.
The young man who is the sitter is unknown in this miniature portrait of c1815-1825, but it is signed "Stump pinxt".
Samuel John Stump (1778-1863) was a very competent artist who is believed to have been born in USA, although it is not known where. As such he has been included with other American miniatures.
He worked in London, Brighton, Zurich, and Geneva.
Unfortunately the miniature is warped and hence the scanned image does not adequately reflect his skill. 1478
This finely painted miniature portrait is signed with an incised signature by George Freeman (1787-1868), an American miniature painter who worked in both the United States and in England.
The sitter is unknown, but the detail of the sitter's clothing, and indeed his facial features are very well painted, better than can be seen in this image. 1482
Included in this collection there is also a miniature portrait by George Freeman of a young lady as below, which was painted on his return to America.
See Freeman, George - portrait of a lady
This miniature portrait, only 40mm x 32mm in size, was offered on eBay as a miniature portrait of an unknown lady, being advertised as;
"Antique Early 1800's Bonnet Lady Portrait Miniature on Enamel 14K Gold Case. Shabby Chic Condition Glass Back Case 15.27 grams".
As such there was limited price competition, even though there were a total of 21 bids, and it was fortunately purchased for this collection for less than the value of the gold content, $160. Thus bargains can occasionally be found even on eBay, that is, provided one is careful and does one's research beforehand as far as practical.
It is a copy on enamel of the miniature portrait of Martha Washington on ivory by James Peale (1749-1831), painted in 1796 and now residing at Mount Vernon.
Although this miniature has the sitter's name on the reverse, it has proved difficult to find out anything about him. At top left it is inscribed either "Rev Mr Roush" or "Rev Wm Roush", or less likely "Routh".
Without being exceptional, the miniature is well painted and the pointed shape of the nose is reminiscent of the work of James Peale (1749-1831) of Philadelphia. For example, a portrait said to be of James Ladson painted by him in 1799. Peale did his best work between 1786 and 1805, and in his work after 1805 he is said to have been assisted by his daughter Anna Claypoole Peale (1791-1878).
The pose of this miniature is similar to that of miniatures by both Peale and his daughter, and if a joint work would be less likely to be signed. From the discussion about casework as below, it is believed the miniature probably dates to 1810-1815 and was probably painted in Philadelphia.The name Roush, changed from Rausch, did occur in the Philadelphia area. He is likely therefore to be related to John Roush or Jacob Roush, both of Philadelphia, who were born in the mid 18C and died after 1815.
One way to date the miniature is by studying the casework which helps to confirm it as an American portrait. I have discussed elsewhere the effect of the 1808 Embargo Act on American miniature portraits. As a consequence of the trade war, it was not possible to import cases and glasses from Britain. Hence for a period of several years from 1808-1815 miniature painters had to make cases out of whatever they could find. In this instance there is, unusually, an inner and outer glass, both with metal bezels as shown in the photographs here. It appears the miniature was made to fit the inner bezel, itself made to fit an available glass. There being no indication of any hanger. As the miniature was then too small for a standard case, the inner half-case and miniature were then placed inside a rectangular ebonised case, which appears to be more likely of French origin, trade with France being easier than with Britain. The miniature is therefore very collectible as being a good example of an Embargo Act "make-do" case. 1485
The three acquired are the one at top left and the central pair at the bottom. The vendor also kindly enclosed several labels which identified some of the sitters. The vendor in Winnebago, Minnesota, United States had acquired the full group as a single unit and described them as; "James J Hill RAILROAD TYCOON, SUPREME COURT JUDGE STRONG Family Relation photos in EXCELLENT CONDITION, 113 yrs OLD", and also:
UP FOR AUCTION IS AN ANTIQUE PAIR OF MINIATURE PORTRAITS ON IVORY,SUPERB DETAIL AND IN EXCELLENT CONDITION,ANT WHITE SPOTS ARE REFLECTIONS or DUST ON THE GLASS,THERE ARE NO WHITE SPOTS ON PORTRAITS.THE GENTLEMAN IS SIGNED ON THE BACKSIDE: Painted by Otto E. Eeckardt 1901,EACH MEASURES APPROX. 4" inches TALL by 3" inches WIDE.
PAINTED AND SIGNED by ARTIST OTTO E. ECKARDT
THESE PORTRAITS WERE SOLD AS PART OF THE JAMES J. HILL ESTATE WHO WAS A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF MINNESOTA HISTORY BEING INVOLVED WITH THE RAILROADS AND FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS IN THE STATE,ALSO THEY ARE RELATED TO THE STRONG FAMILY AND THE SLADES. THESE PORTRAITS DEPICT ARTHUR J. SLADE AND CORNELIA (STRONG) SLADE, ARTUR IS THE ONLY BROTHER OF GEORGE T. SLADE WHO MARRIED CHARLOTTE E.HILL IN 1901; MRS.JAMES HILLS DAUGHTER) AND CORNELIA IS THE DAUGHTER OF STATE SUPREME COURT JUDGE STRONG AND EMMA BARNES STRONG, DO THE RESEARCH AND ADD THESE IMPORTANT EXAMPLES TO YOUR COLLECTION TODAY!!
An extensive obituary of Arthur has been located which shows he was divorced in 1920 and then, in Paris, was remarried in 1929 to Yvonne Truchot Tegou, but appears to have had no children.
The pair at the top of the group photo are clearly by the same artist and painted at the same time. The miniatures were retained by the vendor but by deduction, are believed to be the father of Arthur, George P Slade and the mother of Cornelia Wheeler Strong Slade, a Cornelia Wheeler Barnes born 15 February 1816. Their birth dates would appear to match the ages in the miniatures.
The identification of George Patten Slade is reinforced by a photograph of him in a book Oakdale by Diane Holliday, Chris Kretz published in 2010. Anyone wishing to purchase a copy should refer to
Arcadia Publishing At the time, 1902, George P Slade was President of the South Side Sportsmen's Club. See also South Side Sportsmen's Club - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Identification of Judge Strong, State Supreme Court, as referred to in one label is less easy, but it seems likely to be the miniature at top right of the large group photo. The Emma Barnes Slade/Strong referred to in another label is less obvious. She was the great-grandmother of Arthur and may be the lady at the bottom right, with the man at bottom left being her husband. However, as those two portraits appear to be French from c1815-1825, they may well be ancestors of Arthur Slade's French, second, wife, Yvonne Truchot Tegou, which could also explain the origin of the two miniatures in the middle which appear to be French decorative miniature portraits. The man at top left is identified on the rear as either "Rev Mr Roush" or "Rev Wm Roush". His miniature portrait was acquired for this collection and can be found in the American 3 Gallery. 1486a, 1486b, 1485.