Friday, June 22, 2007

June 2007 - American miniatures

This interesting group of American miniatures includes a very large one by Mira Edgerly Korzybska. It is shown here with two of the other additions, to give a visual clue to the very large size which is 215 mm x 120 mm.

This makes it one of the two largest miniature portraits on ivory in the collection. It was very difficult to find and work with ivory plaques of this size as the ivory was prone to splitting along the grain.

However, the first of the items now commented on, is a profile miniature of a member of the Biddle family painted by J H Gillespie.

It joins another miniature by Gillespie in the collection, both painted in his distinctive profile style, and they can be compared together at Gillespie, J H - portraits of Alexander H Niven an...

Another unusual miniature is by Clara Colby, an artist who so far seems to have been unrecorded.

It is a miniature of Commodore Edward Preble who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in fighting Barbary pirates in the early 19C.

The miniature is very well painted, although the artist appears to have used the wrong shade of blue for the uniform. Thus it appears to have been copied from an uncoloured engraving of the medal. The frame is very unusual in that the portrait is surrounded by a turned circular ivory mount.

For more about Preble, see Colby, Clara - portrait of Commodore Edward Preble...

The miniature of three young sisters is by Mira Edgerly Kozybska a very well regarded miniature painter of the early 20C. Unfortunately, to date the identities of the sitters remain unknown.

The very famous American artist John Singer Sargent said of her work "Here at last is a portrait on ivory, not a miniature." For more about this portrait see Korzybska, Mira Edgerly - portrait of three sister...

Theodora Larsh (1887-1955) painted all the last group of three miniatures). They include a self portrait, a portrait of her husband, Francis Dane Chase, and also a miniature of an unknown baby. There were already three portraits by her in the collection and so this brings the total to six.

Previous visitors to this website will know that self portraits are particularly prized. There are now five miniature self portraits by American female artists from the 19C and early 20C in the collection.

For much more about Theodora Larsh and her husband see Larsh, Theodora - portraits of herself and her hus...

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