Confidently attributed to Edward Savage, this miniature portrait is painted on organic material. The sitter, who has a strong countenance and blue eyes, is wearing a deep blue coat with gold buttons, a white vest and shirt, and a white cravat.
The painting is in excellent condition, with no flaws, and is housed in a gilt copper case, the reverse of which has a glazed aperture containing woven plaits of hair.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Edward Savage (1761 in Princeton, Massachusetts – 1817 in Princeton, Massachusetts)was a self-taught American portrait painter and engraver. He first worked as a goldsmith, also practicing engraving. Although seemingly untrained in painting, he came into prominence in 1790 through his portrait of George Washington, intended as a gift to Harvard University. In 1791 he visited London, where he studied for a time under Benjamin West. Upon his return to the United States in 1794, he practiced in Philadelphia and New York City, maintaining for several years a picture gallery and art museum on Water Street in New York. Charles Bird King studied under Savage over a 5 year period.
Savage is principally known for a large portrait group, "The Washington Family" (begun 1789, completed 1796), portraying President George Washington, First Lady Martha Washington, two of her grandchildren, George Washington Parke Custis and Eleanor Parke Custis. The painting was in the collection formed by William F. Havemeyer, New York, until bought by Andrew Mellon and donated to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Savage's miniatures are quite rare and highly sought after. His larger works appear in many major museums.