Antique miniature portraits of the Tormey-Holder Collection



American Artist: James Dunbar Houghton



Portrait miniature by James Dunbar Houghton of an earliy twentieth century American lady

Early Twentieth Century American Lady
Wearing a Black Dress with a White
Lace Camisole, and Fine Pearls

circa 1910
by James Dunbar Houghton
(signed obverse, right edge, "J. D. Houghton")

2 x 2 5/8 inches (sight)

watercolor on ivory; housed under glass in a
gilt metal case with a cast foliate border



A view of the portrait outside its case, allowing its colors and
brush strokes to be seen more clearly without the distortion or
reflection that is often caused by the glass lens of a miniature's case
(Click + symbol above for an enlarged view)



About the Artist: To date, little has been published about James Dunbar Houghton (1853-1936). He was born in Belleville, New York, the second of six children of Dr. Rev. James Dunbar (1820-1874) and Ellen A. Brown (1829-1896). He attended Union College, in Schenectady, New York, from 1872-1874, where he studied engineering. He was a member of the class of 1875, but he did not graduate -- his education being interrupted by the unexpected death of his father in October, 1874. He was first documented as an artist in 1880, when he was listed in the 1880 U. S. Federal Census as an artist in oil and crayon (pastel), living in Rome, New York. He lived in New York City from 1883 to at least 1895, where he is documented in city directories as being an artist, located at 261 W 15th Street, and later at 1311 Broadway. Thereafter, he moved to Denver, Colorado, where he appeared in city directories from 1903-1905, listed alternatively as a miniaturist and an artist. At some point thereafter, he relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he was listed in city directories as an artist at various addresses from 1909 to 1915. He then moved on to San Diego, California, where he was listed in city directories at various addresses, alternatively as an artist and a miniature artist, from 1919 until his death in 1936. Interestingly, he also appeared in the 1924 city directory of Tampa, Florida, where he was listed as an artist at 216 Warner Building. Surviving paintings by Houghton are rare and often misidentified.









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