A charming example of Abraham Parsell's ability to capture the essential characteristic of a sitter and portray them in a wonderful naïve manner. In the miniature portrait presented here we have a young man with striking blue eyes and a mound of curly hair. He is attired in a dark brown jacket, black vest, and white tie and shirt.
The condition of the painting is excellent, with no cracks, chips, bowing, fading, etc. There are some scattered black spots on the lower part of the jacket, quite difficult to see and having no effect on the visual impact of this gem. The cast foliate case is also in fine condition. The glass in the reverse aperture has been lost at some point, a very common occurrence, but has been replaced with a piece of plastic. The overall size of the case is 2 1/4" by 1 7/8".
NOTE: Abraham Parsell (1792 - 1856) was a popular American folk miniature painter, born in Neshanic, New Jersey in 1791. He was the child of Oliver Parsell and Lucretia Williamson Parsell. Parsell married Mary Richards in New Jersey in 1819, and moved to Manhattan, living there from from 1820 to 1856. This was unusual in that he chose to stay in NY, competing with many fine miniaturists, rather than follow an itinerant route.
Examples of Abraham Parsell's work are in the collections of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the New Jersey Historical Society, among many others.
An excellent article by Vincent DiCicco and Howard P. Fertig appeared in the eighth anniversary issue of the magazine "Antiques and Fine Art". Prior to the completion of this article, Mr. Fertig had contacted us about Parsell's works. We had provided him with some information and photos of one of Parsell's earliest pieces, which we had owned, and which he then referenced in the article.