American Artist: William Verstille
Federalist Era Gentleman with the Initials "JW"
possibly by William Verstille* (ca. 1757-1803)
1 7/8 x 2 1/4 inches (sight)
watercolor on ivory; housed in a gilded copper case with a glazed compartment to the reverse
housing a script monogram and wheat motif painted on ivory with watercolor and chopped hair (see image below)
In the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City) is a similarly painted portrait miniature (a portrait of T. Matthew Pratt -- click here for info), that had long been attributed to William Verstille. Miniature Portrait specialist Edward Sheppard affirmed the attribution of The MET's miniature to Verstille, as did Dale T. Johnson in her 1991 book cataloging the MET's Manney Collection.** The MET has since removed the attribution to Verstille on their website, however, and Pratt's portrait did not appear in Carrie Rebora Barratt and Lori Zabar's 2010 book cataloging The MET's Collection of miniatures.*** It is not known what criteria The MET used in removing the attribution of Pratt's miniature to Verstille; but sources report that Sheppard remains confident it is by Verstille.
**Johnson, J.T. (1991). "American Portrait Miniatures in the Manney Collection", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, page 225.
***Barratt, Carrie Rebora and Zabar, Lori (2010). "American Portrait Miniatures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art", The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.
A view of the reverse of the pendant frame: