Hancock, Nathaniel - portrait of a man

This miniature portrait is unsigned, but has been attributed to Nathaniel Hancock who was active 1792-1809 in Salem, Ma., Portsmouth NH and Boston, Ma. The sitter is unknown. 363


Unknown - portrait of Mrs Letitia Austin Amory

Confusingly, this miniature portrait appears to have been cut down to fit the frame, even though the frame is a large one.

The sight size of the miniature being 80mm x 65mm. It may well have been cut down after it was painted from an original rectangular shape to fit the oval case.

The case is definitely American, probably from around 1825-1830, with a chased border, a beaded bezel and hair under glass inside a beaded bezel on the reverse.

The cutting down makes it harder to attribute an artist, even though the portrait is signed.

The concept of cutting down helps to explain the partial signature, as at the right there is a partial signature which is hard to read.

Originally, it was thought to be by Anna Claypoole Peale, but a kind visitor feels this attribution is less likely to be correct. The alternative interpretation is that the signature commences "Mme A .....", for a French artist. This interpretation is supported by the dark grey background which is more usual for French trained artists and was not used by Anna Claypoole Peale.

However, no suitable name for such an artist has been found to date.

Much later: I have been contacted by a kind visitor with an apparently identical portrait, although with not such fine detail as appears above. The visitor is unable to tell whether it is on ivory or paper, but the lesser detail as appearing below, and the much later type of frame, makes me think it is on paper and is a copy of this miniature on ivory as showing here as unframed.

The visitor also advises; "Further research showed that this portrait was of Letitia Austin who married Mr Jonathan Amory. More details I can give later. but I have a portrait of her as an old woman as well and you can see it's the same woman".

This information has enabled the location of her marriage. It was on 7 November 1826, when Letitia Austin (18 Aug 1809-1875) who most records show was born at Demerara, believed to be in British Guiana. She was known as "Lily C", and married Jonathan Amory (5 Nov 1802-1885) at Boston, Massachusetts. Jonathan's parents were Jonathan Amory and Mehetable Sullivan, known as "Hattie". Jonathan and Letitia had a son, Col. Thomas Isaac Coffin Amory who was born on 27 Nov 1828 in Boston. It appears that Letitia's family had previously come from Barbados. It also seems appropriate to believe that the cut-down name on the front of the portrait is likely "Mrs Amory".

The commission house of "Thomas C. Amory & Co." was among the first in Boston, with Jonathan Amory senior being a grandson of the founder. He was born in 1770, graduated at Harvard College 1787, entered the counting house of his uncle J & J Amory, and engaged in business with James Cutler. He married Ruth Wier, whose family then resided on the spot where the Belcher house, in which he was born, had stood previously to the great fire She died in 1795, and is buried in the southeast corner of the Boylston street Burying Ground, where stands the square marble monument of her family. After her death Mr Amory married Mrs Cutler, the widow of his partner, and the daughter of Governor James Sullivan. His brother Thomas C Amory took him into partnership, and he accumulated property. He resided from 1811 to 1828, when he died, at No 7 Park street, where now stands the house of the late Abbott Lawrence. Mrs Amory died in 1847. Their children were Jonathan Amory, James S Amory, and Thomas C Amory Jr, Mrs Samuel Meredith, and three other daughters.

The son of Jonathan and Letitia Amory, Thomas Isaac Coffin Amory (1828-1864), was born and raised in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. He was appointed a cadet at West Point by former president of the United States John Quincy Adams, and graduated in 1851 from the United States Military Academy. In 1853 he was married to Mary B. Nolan. Amory was made a Captain in the 7th United States Regular Infantry at the start of the Civil War. He was subsequently promoted to Major of the 8th United States Regular Infantry before being commissioned in the Volunteer service as Colonel and commander of the 17th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He was then appointed as Commissary of Musters for the XVIII Corps serving in the Department of North Carolina. He was serving on active duty in Beaufort, North Carolina when he died in October 1864. Amory was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on October 1, 1864 for "gallant and meritorious services during the war.

There appear to have been other children, including;
AMORY, Charles Bean, of Boston, treasurer of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, Lowell, was born in New York, July 30, 1841, son of Jonathan and Letitia (Austin) Amory. His paternal grandparents were Jonathan Amory of Boston and Hetty ... 429b

Later still; it has been pointed out to me that Jonathan and Letitia had many children;
Jonathan Amory (Mehetable Sullivan, James, John Owen (Eoghan)) was born on 5 Nov 1802 in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. He died on 1 Sep 1885 in Newport, Newport Co., Rhode Island. Jonathan married Letitia or Laetitia Austin daughter of Dr. John Austin and Mary Parkinson or Redding on 7 Nov 1826. Letitia was born on 18 Aug 1809 in Demerera. She died in Jamaica Plain, Mass. They had the following children:
Jonathan Austin Amory was born in 1827 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts. He died in 1861/1875.
Colonel Thomas Isaac Coffin Amory was born on 27 Nov 1828. He died in Oct 1864.
Letitia S. Amory was born in 1830. She died in 1912.

George Washington Amory was born in 1832.
Mary F. Amory was born in 1833. She died in 1896.
Elizabeth Amory was born in 1835.
Harriet Amory was born in 1837.
William Appleton Amory was born in 1839.
Charles B. Amory was born on 30 Jul 1841.
Robert Gordon Amory was born on 12 Apr 1847 in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts. Robert married Annie J. Colby, in 1874. Annie was born in 1844.
Philip Drimaresq Amory was born in 1848. He died in 1849.

Hence it is probable that there are now many descendants of Letitia.


Ramage, John - portrait of Garrit Van Horne

This miniature is a rare portrait painted by John Ramage (1748-1802) and was acquired recently at a combined live and Internet auction conducted by a large auction house. The miniature is engraved on the reverse; "Garrit Van Horne - Married to - Ann Margaret Clarkson - 16 Novr 1784".

It is also very interesting, as it seems to be a "lost original", which has now been rediscovered.

The auction house had described it as; "A hand-painted portrait miniature brooch/pendant, the oval portrait depicting a fashionable gentleman within borders of beads and half pearls, inscribed to reverse and dated 1784. Length 4.5cm." Thus it was unattributed by them.

However, it looked like a Ramage and before the auction I found an apparently identical miniature in the Manney collection, which is discussed further below.

Needless to say to anyone who has ever bid at an auction, the time; before the auction worrying who else might see it, during the auction worrying how high they might bid, and then during transit worrying about a safe arrival, which itself was much delayed by the Christmas rush, was very stressful.

Fortunately, there was no significant bidding competition for the Van Horne miniature and it was purchased just above a modest high estimate, such as one might expect for an unattributed miniature. Subsequent to the auction, I am very grateful for the expert opinion which has endorsed my tentative view that this miniature was painted by John Ramage.

John Ramage was born in Ireland, but in about 1772 settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia. By 1775 he had moved to Boston. In 1776 he went to New York and quickly became that city's leading miniature painter, a position he held for around ten years. In 1794 he moved to Montreal and died there in 1802.

The number of miniatures painted by Ramage is unknown, but there are quite a number. In his 1921 book "Early American Portrait Painters in Miniature", Theodore Bolton lists twenty, all with named sitters. The sitters in the list included George Washington, as well as Elbridge Gerry discussed further below.

The Washington portrait by Ramage was sold by Christie's for $1,200,000, a record for any miniature portrait. This also made it the most valuable painting in the world of any kind, on a per square inch basis!

The comparison is a little nebulous, but has calculated the Ramage at $382,000 per square inch, compared to the next most expensive American artist, Andy Warhol at $88,000 per square inch.

In the Manney Collection book authored by Dale Johnson, fig 187 and as shown here in black and white, is a miniature attributed to John Ramage, with the same sitter and with an almost identical inscription on the reverse. The only difference being "Novr" in this newly found Van Horne miniature by Ramage, whereas for fig 187 the word November is apparently abbreviated as "Nov". (The Manney collection has since been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and so fig 187 is now permanently part of the Metropolitan collection.)

As can be seen the frame of this Van Horne miniature is similar to fig 187 with gold beading, although fig 187 does not have a pearl border. The Van Horne miniature is also similar, including having a pearl border, to fig 185 in the Manney collection, although it is even a little more ornate than fig 185.

John Ramage was trained as a goldsmith and did often make his own frames.

The Van Horne frame does not look typically American, but there is an explanation for this, as John Ramage did also import specialist frames from Britain.

Two references which support this are firstly, a reference in the 1930 book "A Sketch of the Life of John Ramage Miniature Painter" by John Hill Morgan.

On page 12 it reads; "But that he did not always make the cases themselves would appear from an advertisement in the Royal Gazette of October 18th and November 15th, 1780, which read as follows: "J Ramage, Miniature Painter, Chapel Street, No. 17, begs leave to acquaint his friends he has received by the last vessels from England, a large assortment of Ivory Chrystals and Cases, with every other thing necessary in his branch of business".

A second and similar reference is quoted by Elle Shushan; "Ramage also imported cases from England, advertising at the height of his fame in 1784, that he had "received from London…the greatest variety of settings for pictures that ever appeared in America…set round with pearl, paist [sic] and garnet… directly from the manufacturers,…will dispose of them at 25 per cent less than any of the articles can be sold for in this City."" See Antiques & Fine Art - Articles - The Art of High Living: Miniature Goldwork

Given the inscribed date of November 1784 on the reverse of the Van Horne miniature, the case must have been part of the 1784 shipment received by Ramage. The year 1784 held significance for Ramage, as his wife Elizabeth died during the year.

One interesting aspect is that the sight size of the Van Horne miniature is 31mm x 26mm. Johnson infers that Ramage's small miniatures relate to his Irish period, which was prior to 1772. However, the similarity of this case to other cases from the 1780's, the 1784 date of the inscription, and the apparent age of Van Horne, given his birth in 1760, indicates that Ramage was purchasing smaller casework and painting smaller images as late as 1784.

This one has a brooch fitting on the rear, which looks to be very old, but is unlikely to be original, as at this time miniatures were made to be worn as bracelets or pendants.

Miniatures by John Ramage rarely come come onto the market. Sometimes miniatures are attributed to him at auction, but they can be wrongly attributed, as there is often confusion between the work of John Ramage and William Verstille. However, Ramage was the much better artist.

In 1999 Skinners of Boston sold a miniature of Mary McCall Cadwalader by John Ramage, but the auction price is unknown. That sitter was closely related to sitters in two Cadwalader miniatures by John Henry Brown in this collection, see View and View where there is also a description of the Ramage Cadwalader miniature.

One miniature showing here in front and rear view, of Elbridge Gerry by Ramage was sold by Elle Shushan in Feb 2001 for $35,000, see Antiques and the Arts Online - As A Barometer For Antiques ... It is now part of the Yale University collection.

Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. His name gave rise to the term "gerrymander", and this was made famous in a cartoon by Elkanah Tisdale, which can be viewed in this collection, see View

Probably as a result of his ageing, the Gerry miniature sold in 2001 is quite a different image to the miniature of Elbridge Gerry by John Ramage illustrated in Plate XIII of Harry Wehle's 1927 book "American Miniatures".

At that time the two miniatures of Elbridge Gerry and that of his wife as shown here, were both owned by Mr Elbridge T Gerry of NYC.

The miniature of Mrs Elbridge Gerry by John Ramage can also be seen facing page 64 of the 1902 book "Social Life in the Early Republic" by Anne Hollingsworth Wharton, where there is a contemporary quote; "Few bachelors can have been more fortunate in marriage than Mr Gerry. I should have imagined her not more than seventeen and believe he must have turned fifty." (At 21 Ann Thompson was exactly half his age when they married in 1786.)

Another sale of a genuine Ramage was this c1790 miniature of Nicholas Gilman (1755-1814) which was sold by Sotheby's as lot 865 on January 18, 2003 for $42,000. This was double the pre sale estimate.

It is not often a single miniature appears on the auction market twice in a few years, but this Ramage miniature of Gilman was previously sold in 1995, as per this quote which refers also to the 2003 sale; "The miniature of Nicholas Gilman (1755-1814) painted by John Ramage circa 1790 that sold for $16,100 at the Mr. and Mrs. Eddy Nicholson sale at Christie's in 1995, sold for $42,000 to the Winterthur Museum." see Rubin Sale at Sotheby's: Good Taste Pays Off : Maine Antique ...

In 1995 the estimate for the Gilman had been $4000/6000 and it sold for a hammer price of $14,000 ($16,100 including commission). Thus there was a significant increase in value over the eight years from the Jan 1995 estimate, to the 2003 sale price. The sale value of both the Gerry and Gilman miniatures was probably assisted by the intervening sale of the Washington miniature by Ramage.

Although, I have not checked, it seems likely that this Nicholas Gilman is related to the Nathaniel Gilman, depicted in a later miniature portrait in this collection, see View

Contrasting auction records show a wide range of prices. It is interesting to look at the portraits and wonder if they were by Ramage and if so, why the prices are so variable.

Three are shown here. The man in the red coat was offered by Fairfield Auctions on May 20, 2007 as lot 172 and described as " attributed to John Ramage portrait miniature of military officer - 40mm x 30mm - 18th century". It sold for $1300. I do not believe this was by Ramage.

The lady was offered by Stair Galleries on Feb 21, 2004 as Lot 271: "Oval portrait miniature of a lady, attributed to John Ramage. The 3/4 view of a lady with brown curls & lilac dress, gold frame with drapery swag border. 1 7/8 x 1 1/2 in." The estimate was $200/400 and it sold for $10,000. Bidders at the auction, obviously thought this was a genuine Ramage, but look at the original auction estimate!

The man in the blue coat was offered by Stair Galleries at the same sale as Lot #273: "Oval portrait miniature of an officer, attributed to John Ramage. In a gold case with applied loop sides. 1 1/2 x 1 1/4 in." The estimate was $300/500 and it sold for $3,000. Thus it appears buyers doubted this was a genuine Ramage, but again look at the original auction estimate. However, it is possible it is a genuine Ramage, but from his Irish period and the low price reflected this, whereas identified miniatures from his American period tend to attract a substantial premium.

In contrast, the oval miniature of a lady shown here was offered at auction by Freemans on Nov 17, 2007 as lot 2211 - a miniature portrait of Mary Wool, attributed to John Ramage and with an estimate of $10,000/15,000.

However, buyers doubted the attribution and at the auction it sold for a hammer price of $4500. The miniature is probably by William Verstille and the auction price is commensurate with Verstille as the artist.

Although their work is similar and they are often in similar scalloped frames, Ramage was a much better artist than Verstille.

I think the main conclusion to be drawn from the wide range of attributions and prices, is one of a confused and less mature market in America. This comment warrants further explanation.

In Europe there is a mature market. For example in Britain there are three major competing auction houses, each drawing miniature portraits from a wide network of their own branch offices together in one central place. They then have dedicated and well researched sales, based upon an excellent database of previous auction records. Between them, there can be six or ten dedicated sales annually, with around 2,000 miniatures on offer per year, nearly all taking place in London. These auction houses have also developed a wide network of buyers. There are other auction houses in Britain which are not as well organised, but in general the British market can be regarded as sophisticated.

In contrast in America the major auction houses have only one or two branches. There are no countrywide branch networks. For items such as portrait miniatures, the only time they have more than three or four items for sale, is on a dispersal of a major collection. They cannot afford to have the dedicated miniature experts that the British auction houses have. Thus they are unable to research miniatures and do not have the vast research libraries of images and accurate databases of prices. The few miniatures which are offered at auction, appear in different major cities, so the market is even more fragmented. For those reasons, the wider American market can be described as less mature.

As a result, there are auctions like the two Stair Gallery lots mentioned above, where at least one of the two miniatures attributed to Ramage appears to be genuine, and perhaps both, but the pre-sale estimate can be politely described as "amateur" and the auction price was a little disappointing, compared to the Gilman Ramage sold by Sotheby's for $42,000.

At the other extreme was the dedicated catalogue produced by Christie's for the George Washington Ramage.

With the Washington and Gilman Ramages, it appears that Christie's and Sotheby's had the resources to research their auction offerings and then skilfully market them to appropriate buyers.

It also makes a substantial difference to auction prices when an auction house states "by John Ramage", rather than "attributed to John Ramage". Thus, for the maximum benefit of vendors, it is desirable for an auction house to seek expert endorsement prior to an auction.

Other examples of Ramage's work can be seen at; John Ramage. Alexander McDougall, ca. 1785, miniature on ivory and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Since I first wrote the comments above, a knowledgeable visitor has supplied some interesting comments about Ramage which have necessitated some revisions. The expert also provided the following interesting comment;

After seeing your miniature of the same sitter I can say that the Manney piece seems to be a copy of your piece but by Ramage. He frequently copied his own work. As to the Gerry has nothing to do with the sale of the Ramage at Christies and has everything to do with the desirability of the sitter...a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the growing scarcity of good images in American works."

"The George Washington had actually been sold in London about 10 years earlier for $660,000 to Alex Acevedo, who later sold it to Nicholson. Nicholson by the way was the underbidder in that sale and bought it from Alex at about cost, once Alex found out that there were no other interested parties at that time. Everyone who would have been interested had bid and dropped out long before. When it was sold a few years later the market had heated up for historical images and there was a lot of new money floating around."

"On a quality basis it seems way overpriced, considering that it isn't even unique. Ed Paine thought that Ramage may have done as many as twelve and we know of at least four, including one sold by Gary Cole in the 1970's and another in the Met from the 1920's (If I remember correctly) and another in a private collection from the 1950's."

"Almost all of the American miniatures from the 1770s thru the 1780s are in a small format (see all the early CW Peales and Dunkerleys, Verstille etc) so Ramage would be using this size although for the most part,it went out of favor in England. The Van Horne is in keeping with the style and 1770's date. Even later Ramage's work was never much larger. In addition, there is ample evidence from ads that almost all of the American jewelers and framers imported frames from England, at least through to c1800. I have had pieces that were painted in the early 19C that were in obviously English frames. The style of wearing a miniature as a brooch was a 19c thing and the pin backs were added then. I don't remember ever seeing an 18C piece with an original pin back. Even 1 1/2" pieces were worn as pendants if they weren't mounted in slide frames (that's the correct name for a bracelet mount). Smaller pieces were frequently mounted in rings and, at least on the continent, in necklaces. Of course, a lot were set into small shagreen or leather cases and many of these, as well as others whose cases may have been damaged, were reframed in the 19C."

"As to the miniature by Ramage sold by Stair Galleries for $10,000. You can't compare this with the Gilman's the sitter, not the quality that makes the difference. On the other hand the man in the blue coat sold for a very high price considering that it was a genuine Ramage, but from his Irish period and thus not as desirable."

Turning to the inscription, Garrit Van Horne (1760-22 Feb 1825)(more often referred to as Gerrit Van Horne, but also Garret Van Horne) was a wealthy New York merchant who on 16 November 1784, married Ann Margaret Clarkson (3 Feb 1761-2 Nov 1824), the sister of the Revolutionary War general, Matthew Clarkson (1758-1825).

Gerrit was the son of Gerrit Van Horne (1726-?) also a merchant, and Ann Reade (1726-?). (It was very hard to scan the reverse as the bar could not be moved out of the way, so apologies for the poor reverse image.)

The sitter is wearing a blue coat with a red collar, the same as in this unrelated miniature, which is probably a few years earlier. My knowledge is weak, especially when it comes to uniforms, but the similarity of the two miniatures, suggests an officer's uniform jacket. New York City remained a British possession until November 25, 1783, now referred to as Evacuation Day, see Evacuation Day (New York) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If it is a uniform, it may be for the militia, the artillery, or for the Continental Line infantry. For Van Horne to be wearing a uniform in 1784, appears to be an indication of his loyalty to the United States after Evacuation Day. As his brother-in-law, Matthew Clarkson was a Revolutionary General, it seems unlikely for the uniform to be British.

The year 1784 was a double celebration as Gerrit's sister Mary Van Horne married Ann Margaret Clarkson's brother, David M Clarkson (1760-1815). During 1785, being the year after their marriage, a mercantile house called Van Horne and Clarkson, was formed by the younger Gerrit Van Horne in conjunction with his brother-in-law (on two counts! - via his sister and via his wife), David M Clarkson.

Gerrit Van Horne and David Clarkson were in 1802, the original purchasers of the eastern four-fifths of the land now occupied by the town of Potsdam. References suggest the mercantile partnership was dissolved around 1809-1810. Gerrit Van Horne lived at 31 Broadway, New York for many years until his death in 1824. (I have not opened the miniature of Gerrit Van Horne, but it would be nice to think that there may be the title deeds to 31 Broadway, NYC inside it!!)

Gerrit Van Horne and Ann Margaret Clarkson had three or four (there are conflicting references) daughters; Mary Elizabeth Clarkson Van Horne (7 Aug 1787-?), Ann Margaret Clarkson Van Horne (7 Sep 1792-?), Mary Y Van Horne (29 Mar 1794-?) and Mary Johanna Van Horne (29 Nov 1799-15 Feb 1873). (It is possible that Mary Y and Mary Johanna are the same person, made to appear different by transcription errors.)

No marriage records have been located for the first three daughters, but the last named, Mary Johanna Van Horne, married Adam Norrie (13 Feb 1796-6 Jun 1882) of Montrose, Angus, Scotland, in New York on 15 May 1827 and they had five children. It is seems likely Mary Johanna Van Horne Norrie was the only daughter to have children and in trying to trace the provenance of this miniature, the Norrie name seems to be the most likely, through one of the two branches discussed below.

Adam Norrie was described by a contemporary; "when he arrived was not remarkable for his beauty, and has not grown more handsome since; but New York has never seen a more energetic or intelligent merchant." His trade goods included Madeira wine.

From his home in Scotland it appears Norrie had gone at an early age to Gottenburg in Sweden and nine years later came to America. There is a fulsome obituary of him at An Upright Life, by Henry Codman Potter (1883) where there is appear to be a reference to him being given the Freedom of the City of Montrose, a dignity also given to Richard Cobden.

In New York, Norrie became the Treasurer of St. Luke's Hospital from its establishment, and his absolute identification with its work continued from that hour until his death. He was also adviser to the St Johnland charity and senior warden for Grace Church.

Norrie appears to have first arrived in New York around 1820 and later made multiple trans-Atlantic crossings. On some of these occasions, such as in 1848, he was accompanied by his wife and four children when they returned on the Cunard liner "Britannia" which was the pioneer Cunarder to open up a trans-Atlantic service. It was a paddle-wheeler with three masts and 115 passenger cabins.

In the 1850 census Adam and Mary J Norrie are recorded living with five children; Margaret (1828-?), Gordon (6 Aug 1830-4 Aug 1909), Mary (1833-?), and Julia (1839-?), as well as four servants. Interestingly, in the household there is also a Margaret Van Horne aged 54, who gives her birthplace as Ireland. It is not clear how she was related to Mary Johanna Van Horne Norrie. To be an unmarried sister, would require her mother to have been in Ireland for her confinement.

Adam Norrie himself was a dry goods merchant in New York and in the 1870 census, disclosed assets of $38,000. In 1870 his wife Mary was still alive and his daughter Julia still lived at home.

The eldest daughter,Ann Margaret Norrie (1828-1906) had married George Louis Augustus Moke (1814-1875) and in the 1860 census they were living in New York with three children and five servants; George being a merchant and disclosing assets of $55,000.

From a newspaper reference in the New York Evening Post, it appears the whole family moved to England, but George Moke died in London on 17 Jan 1875, presumably shortly after they had relocated. In the 1881 census, Ann Margaret Moke, her one son George, then an Oxford undergraduate, five daughters, and eight servants were living at 49 Cromwell Road Court, Kensington, London. It would be interesting to speculate why the family moved to London and set up such a large establishment. Possibly to seek titled husbands for their daughters! For example, Julia married Sir John Paget, but it appears the other daughters did not marry titled husbands.

Ann Margret Noke's eldest son was named George Edward Moke (1 Mar 1858-11 Mar 1920). In the 1891 census, George Edward Moke was an unmarried barrister, but in JFM 1893 he married Beatrice Stephen (1874-1933) in Kensington, London. Their eldest son was born soon afterwards on 26 Sep 1893 and registered as Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie, later 1st Baron Norrie and referred to below. Beatrice appears to be the daughter of Andrew and Eleanor Stephen, a Scottish MD living in Kensington, London in the 1881 census. Beatrice had a younger brother Willoughby Stephen (1876-92) who died the year before her own marriage and so chose the name Willoughby for her son from that association.

Geroge Edward Moke seems to have given up the law, as he was later Major George Edward Moke Norrie, having changed his name, for reasons that are not clear, before Willoughby was born. In the 1901 census, Beatrice Norrie is living in Brighton at age 26 as the head of household, with her widowed mother Eleanor, her three children; Willoughby Norrie, Dorothy Norrie, George Norrie, and eight servants. Presumably her husband was away from home.

Meanwhile in the United States, in 1855 Gerrit's grandson, Gordon Norrie had applied for and was granted a US passport. He was described as 5' 10 1/2"" tall, with a high forehead, grey eyes and brown hair, amongst other characteristics.

Gordon Norrie and his wife Emily (Feb 1836-?) had several children including Alice (1863-?) and Kate (1867-?) who returned to New York from London with their widowed mother on 29 Aug 1890.

For the 1900 census, Gordon Norrie and his wife, Emily Frances Lanfear (Feb 1832-?), who had married in 1855, lived in New York with two other daughters, Sarah G (Mar 1867-?) and Emily F (May 1875-?) and five servants.

His city home was at 877 Fifth Avenue, NYC and he had a summer home at Pequot, New London CT where he died.

It is shown here and was owned by the Norrie family from 1883 until 1944. It is now a residential hall at Mitchell College, see The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architecture ...

Gordon Norrie's obituary of November 1909 records that he was prominent in the financial and social life of New York for many years and had been Vice-President of St Luke's Hospital. He was survived by his two sons A Gordon Norrie and A Lanfear Norrie and three daughters; the Misses Mary, Sarah G, and Emily Norrie. His estate paid inheritance tax of $13,000.

In 1882 A Lanfear Norrie, started mining with an initial allowance of $10,000 per year from his father, and turned that into a major iron ore mine, the Norrie iorn ore mine in the Ogebic Range of Michigan, see History of the Great Lakes. Volume I He soon sold his interest in the mine to Carnegie Steel Co for over $1,000,000, a large sum prior to 1900.

Both A Gordon Norrie and A Lanfaer Norrie, and their wives were among the 300 guests at Mrs Astors annual ball on Jan 29, 1900, Mrs Lanfaer Norrie wearing a gown of rose-colored satin. see Mrs. Astor's Annual Ball: Three Hundred Guests Attended 1-29-1900

Mrs A Gordon Norrie (nee Morgan) was very involved in the women's suffrage movement, see Welcome to Hawk Mountain

More research is required on the descendants of Gerrit Van Horne, although it appears at least one of his Norrie grandchildren emigrated to Britain. Also, see RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: Frederick Philipse Family Tree ... where it appears one of Gerrit Van Horne's great-great-grandsons, Sir Charles Willoughby Moke Norrie (26 Sep 1893-25 May 1977) was Governor-General of South Australia from 1944-1952 and then Governor-General of New Zealand from 1952-1957, after which he was elevated to the peerage as 1st Baron Norrie. See Wiki: Charles Norrie, 1st Baron Norrie and Norrie, Sir Charles Willoughby Moke [Baron Norrie] (1893 - 1977 ... His detailed military career and decorations, including GCMG, KCMG, GCVO, DSO, MC and Bar, is at British Army Officers 1939-1945 -- M 1293


Robertson, Walter - portrait of a lady "C V"

This recently acquired miniature portrait of a lady with the initials "C V" has been attributed to Walter Robertson (c1750-1801) and is from his American period. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of a goldsmith. He exhibited in Dublin for a number of years and was a leading miniaturist there.

Walter's brother Charles Robertson (1760-1821) was also a miniaturist in Dublin and London, and this collection includes a miniature which has been attributed to Charles, see Robertson, Charles - portrait of a man in a blue c... Their styles can be compared below.

Walter left for London in 1784, but had little success there before returning to Dublin and declaring bankruptcy in 1792. There Robertson became friendly with Gilbert Stuart and in 1793 they moved to New York where Robertson painted miniatures and reportedly also made copies of Stuart's large paintings.

The reason for the attributions of miniatures to Walter Robertson appears to be two one-line comments by William Dunlap (1766-1839) about Robertson making copies of portraits by Gilbert Stuart, one of which reads; "His copies from Stuart's oil portraits pleased very much" and in a note on bottom of the same page; "He painted a miniature of Washington and copied several portraits by Stuart" (see page 118 of History of the Arts of Design).

The comments by Dunlap do not even confirm Robertson's copies were miniatures. Thus they may have been large oil copies. However, if the copies were miniatures, in my opinion it is more likely Robertson painted such miniatures in an oval format suitable for framing and wearing, as was fashionable at the time, rather than rectangular.

Rectangular miniatures were uncommon, if not rare, in Britain before 1810/1815. It seems unlikely Walter Robertson would have used that technique 15/20 years earlier in America.

Harry Wehle himself observed in 1927, "As for Robertson's numerous (sic) copies after Stuart's portraits, of which Dunlap wrote, none have thus far come to light." (NB Dunlap used the word "several", not "numerous" in his one-line comment above.)

Walter Robertson worked in New York and Philadelphia for several years, but then left for India where he died at Futtehpur in 1801 (see Foskett). As he spent so little time in America, his American miniatures are much rarer than those painted in England and Ireland. More miniatures are claimed for him than he painted and hence attributions to him do require a high standard of proof.

Miniatures by Walter Robertson have been described by two authors.

Johnson commented; "Those painted in the United States were all made within three years of one another and vary little in style and technique; faces, too, often tend towards sameness. Portions of the surface that appear to be smooth are actually rendered as a network of very fine hatching and cross-hatching."

Wehle also commented; "Typical of (Walter) Robertson's workmanship are the elegant artificiality of starched frills and powdered hair, the fine cross-hatching of translucent backgrounds and the astonishingly skilful modelling of the heads by means of very fine long brush lines following the facial contours and usually blue in the depressions, notably the eye sockets".

Two other comments about Walter Robertson are made in Dunlap's "History of the art of Design". Dunlap himself says on page 118; "Robertson's style was unique; it was very clear and beautiful, but it was not natural". There may even be a sense of envy by Dunlap as a miniature painter himself, in that comment, as on page 119, Dunlap goes on to say; "Robertson... annoyed Trott. Of Robertson he said, his excellence depended upon the secret he possesed - the chemical composition with which he mixed and used his colors."

Walter Robertson did not sign his work and hence portrait miniatures can only be attributed to him by comparison with other known examples. To assist with this, the colour image of "C V" has been converted to greyscale for easier comparison with two miniatures illustrated in American Miniatures by Henry Wehle and as shown here.

Identifications of the two miniatures, reveal they are of a daughter, Hester Rose Tidyman (>1772-1816) of Charleston who was married on 6 Oct 1794 to John Drayton (1766-1822), Governor of South Carolina, and her mother, Mrs Philip Tidyman (also named Hester Rose) of Charleston, who had married Philip Tidyman on 13 Oct 1772.

Harry Wehle's 1927 comment about the miniature of Hester Rose Tidyman could, apart from eye colour, just as easily apply to the miniature of "C V" ,when Wehle said; "This portrait, showing Hester Rose Tidyman at the age of twenty, is perhaps the most charming of Walter Robertson's works. In it, everything - bright sky, starched frills, translucent flesh, glowing pearls and powdered coiffure of marvellous elaboration - seems to be daintily contrived to play up a lovely pair of brown eyes".

As the two ladies both came from Charleston, it seems possible as Wehle comments, that Walter Robertson visited Charleston. The similarity of style is immediately obvious, so much so that the sitter "C V" could even be related to the ladies.

A further miniature by Walter Robertson and again of very similar style is one shown in color here of Elizabeth Pollock Hartigan. This is part of the Portrait Miniature Collection in the National Museum of American Art, see Mrs. Elizabeth Pollock Hartigan

Unfortunately, the sitter in this miniature now added to the Artists and Ancestors Collection is unidentified, although the reverse does contain ornate gold initials which read "C V". There is a substantial lock of hair under the initials. Thus, with modern DNA techniques, it may be possible to identify the sitter by the initials and then confirm the sitter through DNA analysis.

Thus a New York, Philadelphia, or perhaps Charleston resident of 1795 with the initials "C V" would be a likely start point. From the comment below, a relation of Catherine van Rensselaer, is a possibility for the sitter.

Also within the Portrait Miniature Collection in the National Museum of American Art is this miniature, attributed to Walter Robertson, which may possibly be a relation, as the sitter's maiden name had the initials "C V", it is described as Mrs. Philip John Schuyler (Catherine van Rensselaer) (1734-1803).

The miniature is attributed to Walter Robertson, but I confess a personal opinion, that this seems a little unlikely attribution. Walter Robertson was working in America from 1793 to 1796 and I have not seen any references that rectangular miniatures were being painted there at this time.

The case may not be original, but it does date between 1810/1820 which seems a more likely date for a rectangular miniature, with the miniature itself being copied from an earlier large oil portrait at that time. 1287

Tisdale, Elkanah - portrait of a man

Although unsigned this miniature has been attributed to Elkanah Tisdale (26 Sep 1771-1 May 1835). His miniatures have been described as extremely rare, thus this is a lucky acquisition.

Tisdale was born in Lebanon CT, where his father had trained as a lawyer, but Elkanah went and worked as an engraver in New York City between 1794 and 1798 where he met Benjamin Trott.

He advertised as a miniature painter in New York between 1809 and 1812 and in Boston from 1813-1818. He was a founder of the short-lived Hartford Graphic and Bank Note Engraving Company. He was also a cartoonist and two versions of his cartoon on gerrymandering which appeared in the Boston Globe in 1812 are shown here. It is one of the most famous of all American political cartoons.

The term is derived from the name of Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, whose administration enacted a law in 1812 defining new state senatorial districts. The revisions gave disproportionate representation to the Republicans. By examining a map of Essex County, it became quite clear to the Federalists what the Republicans were trying to accomplish.

The Boston Gazette waggishly said that the elongated, sinuous district resembled a salamander; the editor of the Boston Weekly Messenger opined, even more waggishly, “Salamander? Call it a Gerrymander!”, dubbing it with a portmanteau composed of the last name of the governor (Republican Eldridge Gerry, who signed the plan into law) and the word salamander. The Weekly Messenger cartoonist Elkanah Tisdale ran with it, and produced the first known picture of the now-famous political animal. The satirical cartoon by Elkanah Tisdale appeared in the Boston Gazette; it graphically transformed the districts into a fabulous animal, "The Gerry-mander," fixing the term in the public mind.

The reason for the attribution of this miniature to Elkanah Tisdale is the marked similarity of style to a signed miniature portrait of James Fowle Baldwin by Elkanah Tisdale in the Manney Collection which is dated 1817, (fig 240).

Johnson also observes; "The few miniatures by Tisdale that are known, reveal the influence of Trott. Tisdale's early oval miniature portraits, like Trott's display a highly skilled use of the glowing ivory surface to create luminous skin tones and give life to the background. The complex cross-hatching that models the face and the broad, dark cross-hatching in the background are also similar to Trott's. Early miniatures by Tisdale portray handsome people arranged in a three-quarter pose. Later he adopted a rectangular format and his technique became more exacting and precise, probably because of his work in engraving. In some miniatures there is a single source of light that creates dramatic contrasts."

In this example, as with the miniature of Baldwin, the broad dark cross-hatching in the background is clear, but is not as dominant in the overall tone of the miniature as Johnson's comment might suggest.

There is a comprehensive article about Elkanah Tisdale in the Connecticut Historical Bulletin for Spring 1984, volume 49, number 2.

The sitter in this miniature is unknown, but from his costume and high collar, it would date to about 1815. 1288


Russell, Moses B - portrait of a man

Fortunate purchases do eventuate from time to time and this miniature portrait was a lucky acquisition at public auction. It is not signed on the front but is signed on the reverse. The cataloguer at the auction house who sold it, described it as being signed "M B Rupere, Boston, 1844".

However, the cataloguer had misread the signature, as it is actually signed "Painted by M B Russell, Boston, 1844" and also has the word "Miniature" written on the reverse. This is the signature of Moses B Russell (1810-1884), who along with his wife Mrs Moses B Russell (Clarissa Peters Russell) are two of the more famous American miniature painters of the 19C.

The cataloguer was confused by the way Russell wrote his name in this instance. In the 18C and 19C, it was common for a double "ss" to be written "fs" as in this case, and so it was misread by the cataloguer.

It is interesting to compare Russell's signature here, with another miniature in the collection which was acquired earlier this year and signed "Painted by M B Russell, Boston, 1835 (or 1836)". See Russell, Moses B - portrait of a young lady The words "Painted by" are obviously by the same hand and elements of M B Russell also match, as does the word Boston.

There is an excellent article about Moses B Russell by Randall L Holton and Charles A Gilday in "The Magazine Antiques" for November 2002. Unfortunately, the article does not illustrate any of the signatures used on the reverse of Russell's miniatures, but several examples of his signature as they appear on the front of his miniatures can be seen in the article.

Those examples, taken with the two examples in this collection, one of which has an inscribed/scratched signature on the front, show that his method of signing did vary considerably over time. Sometimes he also added an instruction to leave the backing paper on and other times, as here, he included the word miniature for some unknown reason. It is a little intriguing that his hand writing was so poor, when he obviously had such artistic skill.

Russell also varied his painting style considerably over time. This miniature is different to the miniature of a young girl in the collection painted in 1835, which has a darker background, but the background is very similar to several examples illustrated in "The Magazine Antiques" article, especially the portraits of Lieutenant Samuel Fales Hazard painted in 1841 and Reverend Edward Norris Kirk painted in the same year.

Considerable strength of character is evident with this sitter and the sitter is very well depicted As such, the miniature compares very favourably with his other portraits of male sitters. The strengthening of character associated with an adult man, is also evident in comparing the miniature with that of the girl in this collection.

The miniatures illustrated in The Magazine Antiques article indicate that the quality of Russell's miniatures varied considerably. Those of adults were usually well painted, but sometimes there were lapses, such as with his portrait of Thomas Wise Short, dated 1842.

Russell had much more difficulty in painting young children and the five examples illustrated in The Magazine Antiques article, painted between 1829 and 1850 appear primitive by comparison. They also show he was unable to paint hands well, although the 1850 example is much better in this respect. Often the painting of hands is a good indication of an artist's overall level of skill. This variation of quality makes attribution of Russell's work difficult where a miniatures is unsigned or if the backing paper has been removed.

This collection is now fortunate in having two well signed and very competent examples of his work. There are other examples in the collection that may possibly be by Russell, but due to his variable quality, it is difficult to attribute the other examples with any confidence.

The sitter is unknown. 1279


Dickinson, Anson - portrait of a young man

This miniature is unsigned, but has been attributed to Anson Dickinson (1779-1852). Although he travelled a lot in pursuit of commissions, Dickinson is most commonly linked to Litchfield, CT where he was born 19 Apr 1779, the son of Oliver Dickinson and Ann Landon.

He commenced painting miniatures around 1803 and moved to New York in 1804. Over the next fifty years he painted in Albany, New York City, Charleston, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, New Haven, Litchfield, Buffalo, and parts of Canada.

In the 1850 census, he had returned to Litchfield and lived there with his wife Sarah Brown Dickinson who he had married on 30 Jun 1812 in New York. Although he is now thought of as one of the better miniature painters of the early 19C, he did not acquire a great deal of wealth. In 1850 his neighbours included a shoemaker, a cabinetmaker, a carpenter, a labourer, and a blacksmith.

The reason for the attribution is the similarity of pose and style to the later portraits painted by Dickinson, a number of which can be seen illustrated in the biography of Dickinson written by Mona Leithiser Dearborn and published in 1983.

Also shown here as an aid to dating, is an example of a boy's hairstyle from 1852 which is included as plate 95w in Richard Corson's book of hairstyles.

There are very few American miniature painters who are as well documented as Dickinson, both through the biography and via the list he kept of his clients over many years. This list records clients even as late as 1851, when Dickinson was aged 72, which was just a year before he died 9 Mar 1852.

During his lifetime, Dickinson painted over 1500 miniatures. This sounds a lot, but taken over a fifty year working life, it equates to around thirty portraits per year.

In this instance, the pose and the sky shading, with a little of extra shading to convey land at the very bottom are characteristic of his later work, for example the miniature of Senator Truman Smith of Connecticut which was painted in 1847, fig 92 in Dearborn. There was a family relationship here, as when Truman Smith married for a second time, his wife was the adopted daughter of Anson and Sarah Dickinson, Mary Ann Walker.

Judging by the hairstyle, this portrait dates to close to 1850. It is hard to pick out from the image, but the clothes are also very well painted.

The sitter is unknown, but from his apparent young age, could even be the Master David Welch painted on August 15, 1849. 1274


Staigg, Richard Morrell - portrait of a man

This miniature portrait is unsigned but has been attributed to Richard Morrell Staigg (1817-1881) who worked in Boston and New York.

Staigg was a successful artist who in the 1870 census, could still describe his occupation as "Portrait Painter" despite the competition from photography and disclose assets of $6500. However, he had switched to large oil portraits and landscapes around 1860. He again described himself as portrait painter in the 1880 census and the family still had two servants at that time.

The miniature is very unusual in that it is painted on a sheet of fine paper glued to a very thin wooden board, only about two millimetres thick.

In the whole of this collection there are only two other miniatures painted on such a base. They are a pair by a French artist. In all three instances, the grain of the fine paper when glued to board and painted in oils, almost gives the impression of very fine canvas.

The reverse of the miniature has a short inscription, which unfortunately does not give the name of the artist or the sitter. It reads "Painted Dec'br 1845". However, even a date is valuable information as it assists in two ways. Firstly, it gives a date to specific clothes styles which can be used to date other miniatures. Secondly, as in this case it assists with an attribution, in that a date narrows down possible attributions to artists who were working in a given place at a particular point in time.

The reasons for attributing this portrait to Staigg are similar to those for attributing another miniature to him, which was acquired earlier this year, see Staigg, Richard Morrell - portrait of Colonel Will... A close up of that miniature is shown here for comparison. The way of painting the hair is the same, as are the colours used for the facial features, the different tones being a result of one being painted on ivory and the other on board. There are other similarities, e.g. both portraits also have a tiny touch of bright white on the tips of the collars.

Other reasons for the attribution, include the following comment by Johnson; "Staigg's mature palette is a medley of luminous pastel hues for the flesh and rich, deep tones in the clothing and background. His miniatures have the richness of small oil paintings."

That is very much the case with this miniature, which is actually only 100 mm x 80 mm, but looks from the image here, as if it could easily be 100 cm x 80 cm (40 in x 32 in).

Johnson further comments; "Miniatures (by Staigg) from the late 1830's to the mid-forties are rectangular and are signed on the backing paper; later works are larger and oval in shape".

In addition this new miniature was acquired from Feeding Hills, Massachusetts, which is less than 100 miles from Boston, where Staigg was working between 1841-1852, and 1845 is right in the middle of this period.

The reasons for the miniature being on board are uncertain, but there are several possible factors. The date of 1845 was a time when strong competition was felt from photography, which was introduced in 1840. Thus Staigg may have been experimenting with lower cost materials at about the same time as he switched from a rectangular to an oval format. Alternatively, there may have been a shortage of ivory at the time, or it may even be a study for a large oil, as he did also paint large portraits.

The sitter is unknown. 1264