Paul, J or S - portrait of Mrs Carter

Initially the signature on his signed miniature portrait was read as "S Paul 1824", but no artist with that initial has been identified. In style, the miniature and signature both appear to be French.

However, more recently I have become aware of an American artist named Jeremiah Paul (c1770-13 Jul 1820). In early 19C writing it is often difficult to tell between a capital "J" and capital "S". Thus, it seems possible the miniature is by Jeremiah Paul.

Jeremiah Paul was a minor yet versatile artist whose career began in Philadelphia, PA, in the 1790s. The son of a Quaker schoolmaster, Paul received his early training from Charles Willson Peale and in 1795 participated in the founding of the Columbianum, Peale's ill-fated attempt to establish an art academy in America. Dunlap records that Paul's earliest works were based on engravings after pictures by Benjamin West. (He exhibited a copy (untraced) of West's Death of Caesar (untraced) at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, in 1813.)

He later turned to portraiture and in 1796, with several other Philadelphia artists, formed the firm of Pratt, Ritter & Co., whose aim was 'to undertake all manner of commissions, from the painting of portraits, signs and fire buckets to japanning and the execution of coffin plates'. At this time Paul is also known to have engaged in small tasks for Gilbert Stuart, including the painting of lettering in some of the latter's portraits.

At the time of writing, Boris Wilnitsky was offering for sale this miniature portrait of a man inscribed on the reverse; "Painted by J Paul in 1806 or 7 Baltimore".

The previous owner acquired the miniature of the lady at a Southern estate sale where the sitter was identified as Mrs Carter of Charleston and Beaufort, South Carolina.

Literature - Les Peintres en Miniature p411. 1018

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