Antique miniature portraits of the Tormey-Holder Collection

 

 


American Artist: Ebenezer Mack

 

 

Portrait miniature by Ebenezer Mack depicting a late eighteenth century gentleman wearing a blue coat over a gold-colored waistcoat

Late Eighteenth Century Gentleman
(Believed to be a Frenchman Visiting the
Newly Independent United States*), Wearing
a Blue Coat over a Gold-Colored Waistcoat

American
circa 1785-1790
by Ebenezer Mack (1755-1826)

1 3/8 x 2 inches (sight)

watercolor on ivory; housed in a gold pendant frame with britecut engraving to the reverse


*This miniature was acquired from a collector in France, where it had been for quite some time. It is believed that the subject was a Frenchman who had his portrait painted while visiting the young, newly independent United States. The style and color of his clothing certainly support this being a strong possibility. In the late eighteenth century, many French had been fascinated with the American story and our struggle for independence from Great Britain. After the American Revolutionary War, especially at the onset of the French Revolution, which many historians believe was at least partially inspired by the American Revolution, many Frenchmen visited the United States. Ebenezer Mack was active in Philadelphia from 1784 until 1789, when he relocated to New York City. Depending on when exactly this gentleman's miniature was painted, it could have been painted in either city.

 

About the Artist: Ebenezer Mack was born on September 23, 1755, in Hebron, Connecticut, a great grandson of Scottish immigrant John Mack (1653-1721). He 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).


  Click here to read a more in-depth article on the life and times of Ebenezer Mack.

 


Other portraits in the Tormey-Holder Collection by Ebenezer Mack
(click photos for larger views and additional information):

 

Portrait miniature by Ebenezer Mack depicting an Early American lady wearing feathers and jewels in her hair

Early American Lady Wearing
Feathers and Jewels in Her Hair

 

 

Portrait miniature by Ebenezer Mack depicting an Early American gentleman wearing a brown coat

Federalist Era Gentleman
Wearing a Brown Coat

 

 

Portrait miniature by Ebenezer Mack depicting a Federalist Era gentleman wearing a navy blue coat

Federalist Era Gentleman
Wearing a Navy Blue Coat

 

 

 

 

 

 


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