Langdon, Thomas (English, ca. 1769-1826): Little is known of Thomas Langdon's origins, but he is believed to be the same Thomas Langdon who entered the Royal Academy schools at the age of 14, in 1783. Between 1785 and 1802, he exhibited 37 portraits at the Royal Academy of Arts, exhibiting from 19 Vere Street (1785-1786), 38 Great Portland Street (1787), 8 Titchfield Street (1795), 20 Mortimer Street (1796-1797), 12 Tottenham Court Road (1800), 38 Margaret Street (1801), and 43 Charlotte Street (1802). From 1809, he relocated to Bath, Somerset (where it is supposed he may have originated before arriving to London). He appeared in Bath city directories from 1809 to 1824, listed as a miniature painter residing first at 10 Argyle Buildings, and then 37 Milsom Street. Also listed at the same addresses was his wife (only identified as "Mrs. Langdon") who was a teacher of poonah painting, painting on glass and velvet, and modeling in wax. Thomas Langdon died in Bath in June 1826. Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 556, 557) and Foskett (page 584).*
Lewis, William (American, exact dates of birth and death unknown, period of flourish 1806-1837): Miniature portraits by William Lewis have a uniquely early American charm to them and remain highly collectible by both art collectors and collectors of early Americana. It should be noted that there is debate in some circles as to whether there might have actually been two miniaturists by the same name of William Lewis, living and working in New England during the same period. It is our view, however, that there was only one William Lewis, evidenced by a number of circumstantial facts and, more importantly, by the similarities of works attributed to the "two" Lewises -- see biographical article for details. It has been maintained for years that William Lewis was born in Salem, Massachusetts, but research has not been able to prove this. The dates and circumstances of both his birth and death, in fact, remain unknown. He first appeared as a painter in Portland, Maine, evidenced by newspaper advertisements in which he promoted his services as a painter and offered private drawing lessons. It was not until six years later, in 1812, that he appeared in Salem, where he published similar newspaper ads. In 1812, he is also recorded as having married a Dorothy Skinner in Salem. Two years later, in 1814, Lewis is next seen in Burlington, Vermont, where he appears to have spent the summer painting portraits of well monied residents and visitors who were escaping the heat of New England cities. Thereafter, ads by Lewis did not appear again until 1819, at which point he was in Boston. Evidenced by entries in Boston city directories of 1821-1830, Lewis remained in Boston for at least a decade. He did, however, continue to make working trips to popular New England travel destinations -- he was in Newport, Rhode Island from October through December 1823; he was in in Portland, Maine during the summer of 1826; and he was back in Portland again during the summer of 1829. The last of Lewis' newspaper ads appeared in Boston in 1832. No records exist of how he promoted his services thereafter. He is known, however, to have continued painting after 1832, evidenced by one of the miniatures by Lewis in the Tormey-Holder Collection that bears the date of 1836. He is, likewise, known to have exhibited works at both the Boston Athenæum and the Boston Mechanics’ Association as late as 1837. No trace of Lewis can be found after 1837. Listed by Barratt and Zabar (page 124), Blättel (pages 582, 583), Fielding (page 566) and Johnson (pages 145, 146).*
Loisier, Marie-Sophie (French, period of flourish 1793-1802): Name also seen spelled as Lousier. Also occasionally identified by her maiden name of Contouly. She was a student of the acclaimed French painter Jean-Baptiste Regnault (1754-1829). Active in Paris from 1793 to 1802. Exhibited several miniature portraits at the Paris Salon between 1799 and 1802. Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 594, 595), Lemoine-Bouchard (page 360), and Schidlof (page 514).*
Lovell, Caroline Couper Stiles (American, 1862-1947): Descended from a family of plantation owners with deep roots in the South, Caroline Couper Stiles was born in Georgia during the Civil War. She was on one hand a product of dignified antebellum society, and on the other hand a product of the spurned and economically depressed South of the postwar Reconstruction era. Most interestingly, she was also a collateral descendant of the esteemed early American miniaturist Edward Greene Malbone (1777-1807). The two were first cousins three times removed, Caroline's paternal great-grandmother having been a sister of Malbone's father. Generations after his death, Malbone maintained a larger than life influence on the Stiles and Mackay families -- their family estate was, in fact, called Malbone -- and this surely had some influence on the young Caroline's eventual vocation. She received her first formal training in art at Madame Lefebvre’s School, a French finishing school in Baltimore, where she was a boarding student for two years, from the age 16. It was not until after her marriage in 1884 to William Starrow Lovell, Jr., however, that she devoted herself seriously to a career in art. In 1888, the young couple settled in Birmingham, Alabama, where William pursued various business ventures that consumed most of his time and attention. Her husband otherwise preoccupied, Caroline frequently traveled to Manhattan, where she studied at the Art Students League of New York. (Later, she herself would be influential in establishing an Art League in Birmingham.) In 1896, she spent several months in Paris, where she is said to have studied the works of virtually every master at the Louvre. During this period, her skill as a miniature painter continued to excel earning her commissions from many of Birmingham's social elites and recognition throughout the South. Skill and popularity aside, however, Lovell remained active as a miniaturist for just a few short years (she was most active from about 1894 to 1899) before failing vision forced her to prematurely retire her paint and brushes. Thereafter, unable to paint, Lovell turned her energies to play writing. She is most remembered for Prince Charming's Fate (1903), an operetta in three acts, Wuthering Heights (1914), a play in five acts, adapted from a book of the same name by Emily Bronte, Swayam-Vara (1916), a one act comedy, The Dust of Death (1929), a play in 3 acts, and Mirage (1929), a play in three acts. In 1932, she earned accolades for her best-selling historical novel, The Golden Isles of Georgia, and in 1933 she penned a memoir of her youth titled, The Light of Other Days (which, though written in 1933, was not published until 1995, 48 years after her death). Surviving paintings by Lovell are rare. Some are known to to be in a collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art (Birmingham, Alabama).
Luker, Jr., William (English, 1867-1951): The eldest of the six surviving children (six others died in early childhood) of William Luker, Sr. (1828-1905) and Ada Augusta Margetts (1839-1930), William Luker, Jr. was born in London, in 1867. He is identified alternatively in some records as William Luker, Jr., and in others as William Luker II. He was known more commonly to his family and friends as "Willie". His father was an accomplished landscape painter, particularly known for his pastoral scenes of horses, cows, sheep and Scottish highland cattle; and he imparted his knowledge of painting to his son, William, whom he saw as possessing natural artistic genius. Changing tastes of the late Victorian era brought difficult times to the Luker family, however. As the public's appetite for serene pastoral paintings gradually waned in favor of more lively modern works, the elder William fell on financial difficulties and slipped into a long period of depression. A later published account of this period outlines in unfavorable terms the family dysfunction that ensued: a father distant and unengaged, a mother overly indulgent to her sons, idle sons who pursued immoral vices at the expense of self betterment, and daughters denied higher education for lack of money. Louisa Harriet Luker, a younger sister of William Luker, Jr., described the family of this period as "broken down" and "degenerate" and colorfully described a scene in which her mother fell screaming to the floor upon learning that her beloved "Willie" had gotten a family servant pregnant and then secretly married her. Records of the period do reveal that, in 1888, at the age of 21, William, Jr. did indeed marry domestic servant Margaret Stadowicka, a Polish immigrant eight years his senior. Perhaps prompted by the eventual onset of maturity or, more likely, motivated by the need to provide for his own family, the young artist eventually refocused his energy on painting. He painted numerous portraits and London city scenes, but he experienced his greatest success painting animals, albeit in a different manner than his father had. That is to say, rather than painting quiet (some would say solemn) pastoral scenes, he painted animals that were the object of other's affections (people's pets, champion show dogs, racehorses, and the like), and he depicted them with personality and charm. Worthy of particular mention, in about the year 1897, he painted Florizel II, a prized bay racehorse of Edward, Prince of Wales (eldest son of Queen Victoria, and himself the eventual King Edward VII). Luker's preferred medium was oil on canvas, but he also painted in watercolor on ivory and executed many fine pen and ink drawings (many of which were used as illustrations in books and magazines of the period). He exhibited extensively at the Royal Society of British Artists (of which he was also a member) from 1895 to 1945; and he exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1915 to 1919. He is known to have works in collections of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (the Royal Collection Trust), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the University of California Libraries, and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Listed by Benezit.*
Maas, Edith Jane (English, 1861-1925): The youngest of six children born to Joseph Maas (1821-1888) and Frances Fox (1819-1890), Edith Jane Maas was born in 1861, in Victorian era London. She is said to have been of Dutch heritage. Confusingly, her father is listed alternatively in some sources as an accountant, and in others as a linen draper (a retailer of linen cloth). Her mother worked as a milliner (hat maker/seller) until the birth of her third child. Prior to her having pursued art, Edith is recorded as having been an amateur soloist -- not surprising, given that her oldest brother, Joseph Maas, Jr. (1847-1886) and oldest sister, Frances Joyce Leah Maas (1848-1923) were both professional opera singers. By the 1881 England Census, both Edith and her sister Ellen (Ellen Maas, 1852-1910, married in 1873 to Richard Taylor Dunbar) were recorded as being photographic artists (i.e., photographic colorists who added color to black and white photographs). Ellen continued in this field for another three decades, but Edith quickly evolved into painting freehand. By the census of 1891, she was listed as a miniature painter; and she had by then been earning accolades for the quality of her painting. So regarded was her work, in fact, that in 1893 she was invited to paint a portrait of Queen Alexandra (Queen consort of King Edward VII). In 1898, Alyn Williams, president and a founder of the Society of Miniature Painters, and inarguably one of the most influential miniature painters of his day, referred to Edith Maas as being "among the best" of miniature portrait painters of her generation. For 19 years, from 1890 to 1909, she exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Miniature Society, the Walker Gallery (Liverpool), the London Salon, and the New Gallery (London). Having never married, she died in 1925, at the age of 64. Listed by Arturi Phillips (pages 230, 231), Blättel (pages 600, 601), and Foskett (page 594).*
Mack, Ebenezer: (American, 1755-1826): Born on September 23, 1755, in Hebron, Connecticut, a great grandson of Scottish immigrant John Mack (1653-1721). Served in the Revolutionary War, having enlisted in the Connecticut militia in May 1775, at the age of 19. Assigned to Capt. John Watson's company, in the 4th Connecticut Regiment, under command of Col. Benjamin Hinman. Took part in the invasion of British Quebec, where he was captured near Montreal, in September 1775, along with Col. Ethan Allen and 32 other men. Held by the British as a prisoner of war for 14 months, being transported between Quebec, England, Ireland, North Carolina, Halifax, and New York City. Ultimately escaped in April 1777, and returned home to Norfolk, Connecticut. Thereafter, he appeared first as an artist in 1780, in Boston, where he was recorded living with fellow miniature portrait painter Joseph Dunckerley. He was next recorded in Philadelphia where, from 1784-1789, he advertised regularly as a miniature painter. He then relocated to New York City, living near the family of his brother, Daniel Mack, Jr. (1760-1833). He lived the remainder of his life in New York City, working first as a miniature painter from 1790-1808, and thereafter, from 1809-1826, as a physician. He was also a published author, having penned Anatomy in Rhyme and The Cat-Fight: a Mock Heroic Poem. Died in New York City on July 26, 1826. Listed by Barratt and Zabar (page 62) and Blättel (pages 600, 601).
Martindale, Katherine Cathcart (American, 1875-1945): A life-long resident of Indianapolis. In her teenage years, she began working for the Indianapolis News, drawing fashions and other subjects of interest for the newspaper's Woman's Page. She ultimately became a reporter for the paper and was particularly well known for her articles about European travel destinations. (She traveled throughout Europe with her husband and wrote articles of her journeys for publication in the paper.) It is not known how active she may have been in painting miniature portraits; nor is it known if she did works on commission or simply painted them for exhibition.
Mayr, Peter (German, 1758-1826): Also identified by the name of Mayer in some sources. Worked as a miniaturist in both Augsburg and Munich, Germany. Known to have works in collections of the Bayerische Nationalmuseum (the Bavarian National Museum, Munich, Germany), the Landes-Gewerbe Museum (Stuttgart) and the Maximilian Museum (Augsburg). Listed by Benezit and Blättel (pages 624, 625).*
Mee, Anne (English, ca. 1770-1851): There is some confusion as to Anne Mee's exact year of birth, but she is believed to have been born in London in about the year 1770. Her maiden name was Anne Foldstone, daughter of John Foldstone and Elizabeth Fell. John Foldstone was himself a minor portrait painter, mostly known for making copies of older portraits painted by others. Ann received her basic education at Madame Pomier's school, a French School for young ladies, located in Queen Square, Bloomsbury. She exhibited artistic talent at an early age, having received some training from her father (for whom she also mixed colors and prepared canvases). She is said to have begun painting on her own from the age of 12, at which point she also became a pupil of the much acclaimed English painter George Romney (1734-1802). Anne's father died in 1784, at the young age of 39, leaving his wife and children without financial support. Despite her own very young age (she would have only been about 14 years-old in 1784), through her painting, Anne took on the responsibility of providing an income for her mother and siblings. Early on, she earned the patronage of the Prince of Wales (who later became Prince Regent in 1811, and King George IV in 1820). In 1790 and 1791, she was working regularly at Windsor Castle, painting portraits of Queen Charlotte and her princess daughters. In 1793, she married Joseph Mee, an Irish barrister working in London who had large properties in Armagh. Between 1804 and 1837, she exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy of Arts, identifying herself as Mrs. Mee. She died in London on May 25, 1751. Known to have works in collections of the the Royal Collection Trust/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the British Museum (London), the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the National Portrait Gallery (London), the Wallace Collection (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and the Nationalmuseum (English: National Museum of Fine Arts; Stockholm). Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 628, 629), Foskett (page 598), and Schidlof (pages 546, 547).*
Nelson, Horatio (Irish, ?-1849): Entered the Royal Dublin Society (commonly known as the "Dublin Society") in 1834. Exhibited in Dublin at the Royal Hibernian Society from 1836 to 1845. In 1844, he began transitioning to photography, adding colored daguerreotype photographs to his repertoire of miniature portraiture. Listed by Benezit and Blättel (pages 666, 667)*
Pasquier, Pierre (French, born in Paris, nineteenth century): Not to be confused with an older Pierre Pasquier (perhaps his father?) who was born in Villefranche, in the Rhône Alps, in 1731 and died in Paris in 1806. Active in Paris from 1810 to 1835. Believed to be the same Pasquier (first name unstated) who exhibited in Paris at the Salon from 1822 to 1833. Listed by Blättel (pages 696, 697) and Lemoine-Bouchard (page 409).*
Patterson, Elizabeth ("Bessie") Bangs Currie (American, 1883-1973): Graduate of the Chicago Art Institute. Also studied in both New York City and Venice, Italy under acclaimed artist William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), a highly regarded art teacher and outspoken advocate of Impressionism. Active primarily in Duluth and St. Paul, Minnesota from 1903 to about 1925, but she also traveled for private commissions to New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Spent a long number of years in Toronto, Canada, but was not active there as a painter. Painted miniature portraits of several members of American high society and big business. Known clients included Frank B. Kellogg (1856-1937, a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State under President Calvin Coolidge), Mrs. John S. Pillsbury (her husband having been the eighth governor of Minnesota and co-founder of The Pillsbury Corporation), Mrs. Frederick Weyerhäuser (her husband having been a German-American timber mogul and founder of the Weyerhäuser Corporation), Mr. and Mrs. James Jerome Hill (Mr. Hill, 1838-1916, having been the CEO of the Great Northern Railway), and Mrs. Thomas Leonard Shevlin (her husband having been a popular football player and coach at Yale). Known to have several works in a permanent collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, Ohio),
Peale, Anna Claypoole (American, 1791-1878): Born in Philadelphia in 1791, Anna Claypoole Peale was the fourth of six children born to James Peale (1749-1831) and Mary Chambers Claypoole (1753-1829). Her father was an accomplished early American miniaturist; and her uncle, Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827) was, likewise, of considerable fame as both a miniaturist and full-sized portrait painter. Anna received her earliest training from her father, whom it is said went to great effort to teach her his craft. It is believed that she also received instruction at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1805 by her Uncle Charles Wilson Peale and sculptor William Rush. By 1817, she had a thriving business in Philadelphia, where she maintained a studio with her younger sister Sarah Miriam Peale (1800-1885), who painted still lifes and full-sized portraits in oil. She also maintained a studio in Baltimore, at Peale's Baltimore Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts, established in 1814 by her cousin Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860), and made occasional working trips to Washington, D.C., New York City and Boston. From 1814-1843, she exhibited works annually at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She also exhibited at the Boston Athenæum, the Artists' Fund Society and the various Peale museums. In 1829, at the age of 38, Anna married Rev. William Staughton (1770-1829), who sadly died a mere three months after their marriage. Twelve years later, in 1841, she married Gen. William Duncan (1772-1864), commissioned as a general during the War of 1812, but of greater fame for having in 1824 founded the Jefferson Medical College (known today as the Sidney Kimmel Medical College) and in 1827 founded the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, both located in Philadelphia. Within two years after her marriage to Gen. Duncan, Anna retired from painting professionally, but she left a large body of work, many fine examples of which have survived to this day and are represented in the best of public museums and private collections. She is known to have works in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts (New York City), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Rosenbach Museum (Philadelphia), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Connecticut), the Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, Maryland), the Cincinnati Art Museum (Cincinnati, Ohio), the Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio), the Indianapolis Museum of Art (Indianapolis, Ohio), and the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.). Listed by Benezit, Barratt & Zabar (pages 130-132), Blättel (pages 700, 701), Bolton (pages 120, 121), Bolton & Wehle (page 95), Fielding (page 720), Johnson (pages 159-161), and Schidlof (page 617).*
Phillips, P. (American, early twentieth century): Research ongoing -- thus far, I have uncovered little information about this artist. He/she is known, however, to have been active in New York City and surrounding areas in the 1920s and 1930s.
Plimer, Andrew (English, 1763-1837): Andrew Plimer was one of the most prolific miniaturists of England's golden age of miniature painting (late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries), and his work is found in virtually every important collection, both public and private -- remarkable facts, considering his fanciful and adventurous youth. He and his older brother, Nathaniel Plimer (also a miniature portrait painter), were born in Wellington, Shropshire, sons of a clockmaker. Expected to follow in the family trade, the brothers were apprenticed at a young age; but neither of them took a liking to the profession of clock making. Fearful of what they saw as a life of drudgery, the two ran away from home (Andrew at age 16, Nathaniel at age 22). Joining a troop of gypsies, they wandered about Wales and the West of England for two years, fully embracing the gypsy lifestyle and earning their keep by painting decorative images and scenery on gypsy caravans. Upon ultimately departing their gypsy friends, the two brothers arrived to London in 1781, at which time Andrew found employment as a manservant to esteemed painter Richard Cosway. Nathaniel was similarly hired by Henry Bone. Andrew remained in Cosway's employment for four years, during which time Cosway also taught him the art of miniature painting. (Cosway later also taught Andrew's brother, Nathaniel.) Andrew left Cosway in 1785, setting up practice as a painter on his own account. He remained in London for most of his career, but he also traveled throughout Devon, Cornwall, the West of England, and Scotland. Exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts (1786-1830). He is most admired for his portraits of children and young adults. His portraits of of men tend to be more realistic looking than those of women, which often appear idealized. He died in Brighton in 1837, at the age of 74, leaving a considerable amount of property to his heirs (a testament to his long and successful career as a painter). Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 720, 721), Foskett (pages 619, 620), and Schidlof (pages 642, 643).*
Quivey, Claude E.
Ramage, John (Irish-American, ca. 1748-1802): Though born in Dublin, Ireland in about the year 1748, Ramage is considered one of the finest and most influential of early American miniaturists. So admired was his skill that, despite being a loyalist who fought against American independence, he was the first artist hired to paint a portrait of George Washington after his inauguration as the first President of the United States. (This iconic miniature portrait, painted in 1789, was sold at auction by Christie's in 2001 for $1.2 million -- the highest price ever paid for an American miniature.) Little is known of Ramage's early life, other than that he entered the Dublin Society Schools in 1763 and practiced briefly in London before relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia in about 1771. In late 1774 or early 1775, he relocated to Boston, where he plied his trade as both a miniature painter and goldsmith (he made many of his own miniature portrait frames, fashioned out of gold). He was in Boston at the onset of the Revolutionary War, at which time he joined the The Loyal Irish Volunteers (a loyalist regiment), receiving a commission of lieutenant. At the conclusion of the Siege of Boston, he was amongst the large population of British subjects and loyalists who evacuated the city on March 17, 1776 with General William Howe's troops, en route to Halifax. He remained in Halifax a little more than a year, before then relocating by June, 1777 to New York City, which was then firmly controlled by the British and occupied by British troops. There, consistent with his loyalist leanings, he is recorded in 1780 as having served as a second lieutenant in a city militia loyal to the Royal Army. In New York, Ramage was met with great success, quickly becoming the leading miniature painter in that city. During the war, he painted numerous portraits of British military figures and prominent loyalists. Following the war, his his loyalist leanings seem not to have hurt his ability to earn commissions, as he continued to paint portraits of many early American sitters, including the likes of President George Washington (as noted previously), Gov. George Clinton (who later would serve as Thomas Jefferson's vice president) and William Few (a signer of the U.S. Constitution). In 1794, legal action was brought against Ramage due to his having guaranteed the debt of a friend who subsequently defaulted on that debt. As a result, a number of Ramage's household goods and furniture were seized and sold at auction on April 19, 1794, and Ramage himself fled to Montreal to avoid debtors prison. Letters written to his wife, who remained in New York, indicate that he was active as a miniaturist in Montreal and intended to save enough earnings as would allow him to return to New York. Declining physical and emotional health, however, prevented him from achieving this goal. He died in Montreal on October 24, 1802, having never been reunited with his wife. Listed by Barratt & Zabar (pages 38-42), Benezit, Blättel (pages 744, 745), Bolton (pages 131-133), Bolton & Wehle (pages 29, 30), Falk (page 2696), Fielding (page 764), Foskett (page 624), Johnson (pages 181-184), and Schidlof (pages 662, 663).*
Renaud, Marie-Honoré (French, ca. 1797-after 1857): Marie-Honoré Renaud was born in Paris in about the year 1797, and studied under Louis François Aubry. She primarily painted miniature portraits in watercolor on ivory, but she also painted in enamel on porcelain and etched lithographs. She exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1824 to 1857. No record is found of her after 1857. Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 1224, 1225), Lemoine-Bouchard (page 436), and Schidlof (page 670).*
Roberts, John (Scottish-American, ca. 1768-1803): The work of Scottish immigrant John Roberts represents the height of early American folk/provincial painting. His portraits are simultaneously detailed and simplistic, both naive and charming -- characteristics that are highly sought out by collectors of early Americana. Surviving works by Roberts are very rare nonetheless (less than a dozen miniature portraits by him are currently known to exist). It has long been mistakenly believed that he primarily worked in Portland, Maine and that he mostly painted sailors. Recent research has revealed, however, that he was active in a number of cities along the eastern seaboard. He advertised his services as a miniature painter in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (June - September 1796), Charleston, South Carolina (December 1796), Newburyport, Massachusetts (October 1800 - February 1801), Portsmouth, New Hampshire (April - May 1801), Portland, Maine (March - April 1802), Augusta, Maine (August 1802), Kennebunk, Maine (September 1802), and again in Portland (March 1803). All the while, concurrent with his work in these various locations, records also show him to have maintained a primary residence in New York City from 1797 to 1803. Most interestingly, however, in New York City directories for each of those years, he was listed not as a miniature painter, but rather as an engraver. Indeed, it would appear that Roberts' greater skill was engraving, primarily on copper and wood. He was particularly well known for his engraved prints used to illustrate books (mostly educational and literary). He is also known to have engraved copies of portraits by other artists, most notable of which was a portrait of George Washington (considered today one of the rarest of Washington portraits), copied from a miniature painted by Benjamin Trott. Despite his frequent commissions for engravings, however, he occasionally departed New York City, traveling to other cities to paint miniature portraits (a form of art he is said to have been less fond of, but felt compelled to turn to as a means to further supplement his income). He was also an avid tinkerer and inventor. He made his own engraving tools and printing presses; he invented a new mode of stippling, said to have resulted in prints of an exquisite finish; he developed an improvement on the steam engine for use in propelling boats; he invented an economical method of manufacturing iron stoves; and he developed improved methods for creating optical lenses used in glasses and scopes. Not surprisingly, he was described by his contemporary, William Dunlap, as a universal genius. Genius aside, however, he was known to have been quite eccentric, to have had an often disagreeable personality, and to have imbibed too frequently of hard liquor. Roberts met his end in 1803, at a young age of about 35, falling down a flight of stairs at his home and fracturing his skull. It was said that his fall was the result of a stroke, but Dunlap maintains that his fall was more likely caused by alcohol than a sudden onset of apoplexy. Listed by Benezit, Blättel (pages 768, 769), Bolton (page 134), Fielding (page 789), Foskett (page 629), and Schidlof (page 682).*
Rogers, Nathaniel (American, 1788-1844): Recognized as a leading American miniaturist of the early nineteenth century. Was a pupil of New York City architect and miniaturist Joseph Wood (1776-1864). His origins were in Long Island, but the majority of his painting career was spent in New York City, where he was active from 1811. Exhibited at the American Academy of Fine Arts from 1817 to 1824. Elected to the American Academy in 1825. A founder of the National Academy of Design in New York, where he regularly exhibited miniatures from 1826 to 1830. Known to have works in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), Museum of the City of New York, Worcester Art Museum (Worcester, Massachusetts), the Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland, Ohio), the National Academy Museum (New York City), Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), the New-York Historical Society (New York City), the Suffolk County Historical Society (Riverhead, New York) and the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (Long Island, New York). Benezit listed.*
Rosenbaum, Maurice B.
Arturi Phillips: Carmela Arturi and Frederick Roger Phillips (2012). Dictionary of Miniature Painters 1870-1970, self-published in London by Ms. Arturi's and Mr. Phillip's Portrait Miniature Club.