A fine portrait miniature of a handsome gentleman painted on natural wafer by Henry Inman. The sitter is wearing a black jacket and stock, and a white waistcoat, shirt, and collar. Displayed in a cast foliate case with the reverse having a glazed aperture with a cast foliate surround and containing a lock of hair.
The painting is in excellent condition with no issues to note. The case is also in fine fettle, although the reverse could use a bit of cleaning. At some point mounts for a brooch pin were put in the back but the pin has since been removed for safety reasons. Sight size is 2 1/2" by 2 1/8", with a case size of 2 7/8" by 2 3/8".
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Henry Inman (1801 - 1846) was born near Utica, NY and received his primary schooling there in addition to receiving training from an itinerant portrait artist. The family moved to NYC and, in 1814, seven-year apprenticeship by John Wesley Jarvis, at that time the premier portrait painter in New York. During the course of his term with Jarvis, Inman accompanied him on several painting trips, notably to New Orleans, and assumed responsibility for the backgrounds and drapery of his master's works. He soon learned to paint miniatures, and his first large oil portrait was executed in 1817. Consequently, by the time his apprenticeship ended in 1821, he was more than ready to launch his own career. He took on George Twibill and Thomas S. Cummings as pupils. With the latter he formed a portrait-painting partnership which lasted until 1828. Later he would teach William Sidney Mount, Daniel Huntington, and his master's son, Charles Wesley Jarvis. Cummings and Inman formed the National Academy of Design and in 1826 he became its first vice president. Inman became closely identified with the Academy, exhibiting there every year for the rest of his life, and painted many genre works. In 1831 he moved to Philadelphia, competing there Thomas Sully for commissions. In 1834 he returned to New York.
After an extremely full professional life he died in 1846 and, as the leading American portraitist of his time, was accorded a lengthy, ceremonial funeral procession through the streets of Manhattan. His patrons included President Martin Van Buren and Chief Justice John Marshall. A major and famous project commission of his was copying over 100 paintings of Native Americans done by Charles Bird King for lithographic reproduction. The copies later traveled as a separate exhibition.
Unlike many other artists Inman was also able to translate his skills from full sized works to miniatures. His portraits and genre works are represented in most of the important American museums.