American Artist: Alfred S. Waugh
Jacksonian Era Lady, Presumed to Be
Mrs. Henry McKee* of Raleigh, North Carolina
by Alfred S. Waugh (ca. 1810-1856)
(signed 'Waugh / 1835', obverse right; additionally inscribed on the metal surface inside the case:
'Henry McKee / Painted by Alfred S. Waugh / Nov 1834 Raleigh')
2 3/16 x 2 11/16 inches (sight)
watercolor on ivory; housed in a gilded copper case with a cast foliate border and bail
This portrait miniature is rare in that it is one of few known extant works signed and dated by Waugh. It is also an important specimen in that it was painted in Raleigh, North Carolina (as evidenced by the inscription inside the case), placing Waugh in Raleigh five years earlier than previously known.
*The name 'Henry McKee' is inscribed on the metal surface inside the case, as is the date 'Nov 1834', which conflicts with the date of '1835' painted on the portrait, obverse right. It is presumed that Waugh painted portrait miniatures of both Mr. and Mrs. Henry McKee (having painted Mr. McKee's portrait in November 1834, and Mrs. McKee's portrait shortly thereafter, in 1835). If so, might Waugh have inscribed Mrs. McKee's name and the date of 1835 inside the second case; and might the two cases have accidentally been swapped at some point while being cleaned? This seems a likely scenario. Perhaps at some point in the future, the second case will surface, along with the portrait of Mr. McKee.