Brown, John Henry - portrait of Mrs Antoinette Wilmer
Painted in 1852 is this miniature portrait signed on the reverse "Copied from a daguerreotype J Henry Brown pinxit Phil 1852". John Henry Brown (1818-1891) was active as miniature painter in Philadelphia for a number of years. He was highly thought of and won a medal at the 1876 exhibition. He was one of very few miniaturists who were able to compete with the new art of photography.
Brown charged $125 to paint this portrait, which was a lot of money at the time and equivalent to around $5000 today. This and the following group of miniatures show a good cross-section of his work.
There is an excellent article about John Henry Brown by Anne Verplanck, in The Magazine Antiques for November 2004 see Magazine Antiques: The art of John Henry Brown
The sitter is Antoinette Tessieire Wilmer and was identified from a note on the reverse where she is described as "Mrs Ringold Wilmer - mother's sister - sister of Mrs James C Fisher". Research has identified Antoinette Tessieire (1817-c1852) who married John Ringgold Wilmer (1813-1886) on Nov 9, 1847. In the 1850 census John Ringgold Wilmer was aged 32 and described himself as a merchant. Antoinette is recorded as aged 23 and is seems likely she died in childbirth a year or two later. John Ringgold Wilmer was married for a second time in May 1855 to Marie Jeanne Nathalie de Chazournes (1827-?).
Given the date of 1852 on the reverse of the miniature, it appears that the miniature was painted from a daguerreotype shortly after Antoinette's death, possibly at the request of her mother, Eliza Tesseire. Verplanck mentions a similar instance regarding a portrait of Mrs Henry Fisher (this Fisher family appears to be unrelated to the Mrs James C Fisher referred to here).
The wife of James Cowles Fisher was Mary Tessieire (Mary Tesseire) who he married 29 Apr 1847. She was another daughter of the Eliza Tessieire in the adjacent miniature and this explains the reference to "mother's sister". James was the grandson of the James Cowles Fisher who married the Nancy Wharton (aka Ann Wharton) who is the sitter in the miniature by Edward Heaton which appears elsewhere in this section.
On the rear of the frame, there is a framemaker's label which reads "G Sauter, Manufacturer of Looking Glasses, Picture Frames & Passe-partouts, Also, dealer in Paintings, Engravings, Chromos. and other works of art. 138 South Eighth Street Philadelphia". The identical framemaker's label appears on the reverse of the miniature portrait in this Gallery by George Lethbridge Saunders. In the 1860 census George Sauter (1837-?) was living in Philadelphia with his parents, Charles F Sauter, who seems to have had a furniture store, and Caroline Sauter. George gave his occupation as "manufacturer of P Partouts". A passe-partouts is a mounting for a picture in which strips of gummed paper bind together the glass, the picture, and the backing, for insertion in the frame. The business must have been quite profitable in 1860 as George disclosed assets of $4000. By 1870 he was married to Christina Sauter and they had a daughter Mary Sauter, aged 2, but by 1880 he was living only with his mother, and even later in 1900 he was living as a lodger and his occupation was art dealer. 1100
Later, a kind visitor advises;
1- The portrait miniature of 'Mrs Geo W Morgan - Grandmother
Tessiere's mother' is of Hester Leib, wife of George Washington
Morgan. George Washington Morgan was born in 1776; he was the son of
Gen Jacob Morgan of the American Revolution. The Morgans were
merchants and heavily involved in shipping and the West Indies (sugar)
trade. George Washington Morgan and Hester Leib had 4 surviving
children: Eliza Caroline (m.Anthony Teisseire), Mary (m.Saturnius
Destouet), Harriet Adelaide (m.Thomas Ashton Morgan), and George Leib
Morgan (m.Lucretia Elizabeth Hamersley).
2- The Destouet family ('portrait of Mary Morgan Destouet').
Saturnius Destouet and his two brothers, Bartholomew & John E, were
merchants in Philadelphia under the name 'Destouet Brothers'. Bartholomew may have
died or returned to France by the late 1820s; only Saturnius and John
E show up in the later records. Their father's name was John; there
were also two sisters, Adele and Zelie, born about 1802 and 1807
The father, John, along with Adele and Zelie, left the United States
in 1831 to travel in Europe; I haven't found any record of their
return to the US. Eliza Caroline Destouet, daughter of Saturnius & Mary
(Morgan) Destouet, married her 1st cousin, Thomas Hamersley Morgan,
son of George Leib & Lucretia Elizabeth (Hamersley) Morgan. The Rev Brockholst
Morgan who married them was Thomas' brother.
3- The wives of John Ringgold Wilmer ('portrait of Antoinette
Teisseire') were cousins. JRW's first wife was the daughter of
Anthony and Eliza Caroline (Morgan) Teisseire. JRW's second wife, Marie Jeanne Nathalie
de Chazournes, was the daughter of Felix and Marie Louise (Brugiere)
Chazournes. Marie Louise (Brugiere) Chazournes was the daughter of Charles and
Marie Antoinette (Teisseire) Brugiere. Marie Antoinette (Teisseire)
Brugiere was the sister of Anthony Teisseire.
Charles Brugiere originally worked for the firm 'Tarascon Brothers,
James Berthoud & Co'. They were Philadelphia merchants who later
established the town of Shippingport, Kentucky. After the Teisseire family's
arrival in Philadelphia in about 1800, Charles Brugiere and Anthony
Teisseire established the firm of Brugiere and Teisseire.
In about 1843, Charles and Marie Antoinette (Teisseire) Brugiere's
son, William, married Mary Morgan, daughter of Thomas Ashton and
Harriet Adelaide (Morgan) Morgan, thus completing the circle of Morgan,
Teisseire, and Brugiere.
One additional note - Thomas Ashton Morgan and his wife, Harriet
Adelaide Morgan were also cousins. Thomas' father, Benjamin, was a
brother of Gen Jacob Morgan. Gen Jacob Morgan was Harriet Adelaide's grandfather.
Posted by Don Shelton at 3:56 PM