A fine John Wesley Jarvis portrait miniature of a woman wearing a white mob cap and a modest white dress with lace collar and bow, the sitter presented against a stippled blue background. Housed in a period replacement red leather travel case with a somewhat illegible and later label on the back stating "Miniature of...Caldwell (Rachel Bishop?)...of...Pauses Webb."
The painting, with no bowing, cracks, or fading, is in very good condition with a rather non important smudge to the background at 9 o'clock at the edge, a minor flaw easily corrected if desired. The sight size is 2 3/4" by 2 3/8".
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: John Wesley Jarvis (1780 - 1840) was born in England and was a nephew of the theologian John Wesley. In 1785 he was taken to Philadelphia where his family settled. There, in 1800, he was apprenticed to Edward Savage, portrait painter and engraver, and in 1801 Savage moved to New York City and brought Jarvis with him where they worked together.
Later, in partnership with Joseph Wood, he painted profiles and miniatures. The Jarvis-Wood partnership ended in 1810 and he then traveled to major cities such as Baltimore, Maryland, and Charleston, South Carolina, for commissions while maintaining headquarters in New York. While in Louisiana Jarvis established an important studio, collaborating with, among others, Henry Inman, who had served Jarvis for seven years as apprentice and assistant.
Jarvis was popular in Knickerbocker society, where he had a close friendship with Washington Irving and painted his portrait. He exhibited at the American Academy of Design and the National Academy of Design. Toward the end of his life, he suffered extreme poverty and a stroke in 1834 in New Orleans left him paralyzed and led to his death in New York City in 1840.
Jarvis was the foremost portrait painter in NYC in the first quarter of the 19th century. Examples of his work are in most major U.S. museums.