A charming miniature portrait painted in watercolors on wafer. The sitter, with curly auburn hair and blue eyes, is simply attired in an off the shoulder sky blue gown, and is depicted in front of a cloud filled blue sky. Such a pose is often used to indicate that the work is a mourning piece. According to family history, the sitter is Lucy Ann Bainbridge, the daughter of Commodore William Bainbridge.
The miniature, in what might be the original case, which has a glazed aperture on the reverse, is 2 3/8" by 2". The painting is in excellent condition, with no issues, with the case also being in fine order, with tarnishing on the reverse.
PROVENANCE: Descended directly in the family of Commodore William Bainbridge to the prior owner.
1. Anna Claypoole Peale (1791 - 1878) was born in Philadelphia, one of James Peale's six children, and a niece of Charles Wilson Peale. She showed works at the first exhibit held at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1811. She went to Washington in 1818, and there, sharing Charles' studio, she painted miniatures on ivory, very much in vogue at that time.
Anna painted some of the most influential people in the country during her career, including President Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and many others. She was known to have painted "high society" in Baltimore and Boston as well.
Anna was elected as an Academician of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts in 1824, an honor bestowed on few women of the time. She exhibited regularly at the academy until 1842. Considered a highly accomplished artist, her works are avidly sought after, and are represented in the collections of most major museums.
2. Commodore William Bainbridge had a long and illustrious career, serving under six presidents, beginning with John Adams. He commanded several famous naval ships, including the USS Constitution, and saw service in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. In the latter part of his career he became the U.S. Naval Commissioner. Several ships of the Navy have since been named USS Bainbridge in his honor.