Cummings, Thomas Seir - portrait of a man

This miniature portrait has been attributed to Thomas Seir Cummings (26 Aug 1804-25 Sep 1894) who worked in New York and whose works have been described as "technically flawless". He taught miniature painting and drawing for over thirty years. He exhibited annually at the National Academy of Design from 1826-1852

Cummings had been born in Bath England, but was brought to New York by his parents. He married Jane Cooke (9 Dec 1806-20 Nov 1889) in New York on 27 May 1822, thus Thomas was less than 18 years old when he married and Jane only 15. As Jane died first in 1889, they were married for 67 years, unusual today and almost unheard of in the 19C.

It is difficult to trace the family through the census returns, but in 1850 Thomas described himself as an artist, with assets of $8000. At that time he and Anne had ten children, aged from 3 to 25, and one servant.

The attribution is based upon a comparison with fig 42 in the Manney Collection, which has a similar pose and background treatment with a vertical colour change, as well as similar sight size dimensions.

Johnson describes Cummunings' work as "techinically flawless and pyschologically perceptive. Although Cummings a precise painter, lacked the painterly freedom of Inman, he achieved lively, charming effects by his use of striking contrast and brilliant color."

Additionally, a pair of portraits by Cummings with the similar pose and background treatment of a vertical division were sold as lot 815 in the Skinner sale of 5 November 2006.

Unfortunately the sitter in this portrait is unknown. 1194b

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