Brown, John Henry - portrait of Mrs Maria Cadwalader Hone

Unusually painted on milk glass, is this miniature portrait believed to be by John Henry Brown. As it is painted on milk glass, it may be somewhat of an experiment. It is signed in very tiny letters and faintly "JHB" above the left shoulder, just level with her necklace.

He generally signed his miniature portraits on ivory, but not his opalotypes which were hand coloured photographs by him on a milk glass ground. This miniature seems to fall somewhere between the two types.

The miniature is identified by an attached tag as "Maria Cadwalader - Mrs John Hone - (H G Bartol's) - Mrs G M Phelps grandmother". Maria Cadwalader (1843-1921) married John Hone (1844-1915) on April 29, 1880. By the apparent age of the sitter, the miniature must have been painted in the 1860's.

The miniature was exhibited as item 31 at the Tenth Annual Exhibition of Miniatures at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) in 1911, where it was described as "Mrs John Hone (nee Cadwalader) painted in Philadelphia by J Henry Brown lent by Mrs S Weir Mitchell".

Maria Cadwalader Hone was the daughter of Maria Gouverneur Cadwalader in the adjacent portrait. A kind visitor to the website who is a descendent of Maria Cadwalader Hone, has advised that her husband, John Hone, is the grandson of Commodore Matthew Perry whose miniature portrait appears elsewhere in this American 1 Gallery, see Gelee, Isabelle - portrait of Commodore Perry

The PAFA catalogue of 1911 is a rare document and very few items are illustrated. However, to assist any Cadwalader researchers, two images from the catalogue do seem to relate to the broader family and are reproduced here.

They are of Wilhelmina, wife of General John Cadwalader and Mrs John K Mitchell, said to be by Saunders, which will be George Lethbridge Saunders. Mrs Mitchell seems to have been either the mother or, perhaps more likely, the grandmother of the Dr Silas Weir Mitchell mentioned in this description.

Research is made easier by the Internet, as people all over the world can research and readily share information.

Another interesting contact with information about Maria Cadwalader Hone has been from a kind visitor who has a photo album which once belonged to the Cadwalader family. A small, but interesting selection from the photo album is shown here. Apparently, pencil notations in the album suggest it was kept by Maria Cadwalader (from before she became Mrs John Hone), daughter of Thomas McCall Cadwalader and Maria Gouverneur, and then passed through to her grandchildren, before leaving the family.

The portraits include one of Maria Cadwalader, the subject of this miniature, with one of her sisters, Mary Cadwalader, who married Dr Silas Weir Mitchell in 1875. He was well known in medical circles, see Silas Weir Mitchell ( Also a family group with croquet mallets in front of them and with Maria Cadwalader Hone standing in the rear row.

The other images are photographs of painted portraits, probably all being miniatures of family members, but the whereabouts of the original portraits are currently unknown. One is described in the album as of Mary McCall and the artist appears to be John Ramage.

Another of a young lady at the bottom right below, appears to be by John Henry Brown. The third of a lady with a bonnet on the bottom left, looks to be a miniature by George Lethbridge Saunders, but appears not to be mentioned in the PAFA catalogue, unless it is the one of Miss Maria Sergeant (Mrs Harrison Smith) which was loaned by Miss M H Smith.

The sitter in the photograph of the miniature at the bottom right by John Henry Brown is also hard to identify. The wider Cadwalader family seems to have only loaned one miniature of a female by John Henry Brown to the 1911 exhibition, and that is believed to be the one in the colour image of Maria Cadwalader Hone in this posting, although several of females were loaned by other owners. Thus further information about any of these portraits would be welcome.

For the benefit of anyone researching the Cadwalader family, or their related families i.e. Biddle, McCall, Gouverneur, Weir Mitchell etc. three sources that have been discovered are firstly, a series of books by Anne Hollingsworth Wharton written around 1900.

Secondly, the catalogue for a PAFA exhibition of miniatures held in 1911. The Mrs Weir Mitchell (Mary Cadwalader) mentioned above and her husband, loaned a large number (24) of miniature portraits of family members to the exhibition, possibly including the one of Mary McCall by John Ramage shown here, as the 1911 exhibition included a portrait by a then unknown artist of Mrs Lambert Cadwalader (nee Mary McCall).

Thirdly, an extensive family tree can be seen at RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project: "The Large Version of the Chew ... There is also a miniature in this collection which may possibly represent Nicholas Biddle at Gillespie, J H - portraits of Alexander H Niven an...

Unfortunately, the whereabouts of all these miniatures is unknown, but they may still be with a family member somewhere.

In late 2007, I have found a 1999 auction reference to the sale of one of the miniatures by Skinners of Boston. (Unfortunately, the image is very poor.) The description reads; "Miniature Portrait of Mary McCall Cadwalader Unsigned, attributed to John Ramage, line of descent inscribed on the reverse Watercolor on ivory, 1 1/2 x 1 1/4 in, in a pendant frame Condition: Good Provenance: From the script on the reverse of the gold locket: "nee McCall left her miniature to her niece, namesake and Godchild, Mary Read who left it to her daughter Mary Read Fisker who give it to Hester Gouveneur Hone great grand-daughter of Mary McCall Cadwalader 4th December 1907" Note: "The Cadwalader family had a distinguished history of leadership and public service in Philadelphia from its carliest years and they continued to play a pivotal role in the city's political, intellectual, and cultural circles during the Revolution and in later Federal periods " according to "The Cadwalader Family Art and Style in Early Philadelphia," by Jack Lindsey and Darrel Sewell, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin Fall, 1996."

Dr and Mrs Weir Mitchell had a daughter Maria Gouverneur Mitchell who unfortunately died of diphtheria in 1898 at the age of 22. In memory of her, they commissioned a memorial sculpture from Augustus Saint-Gaudens which is inscribed, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."

It was the Angel of Purity (Maria Mitchell Memorial), is 96 inches tall and adorned the wall facing the Cadwalader family pew in Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church in Philadelphia for over 100 years until it was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2005.

It is shown here for convenience, but much more about the sculpture can be found at Philadelphia Museum of Art - Collections : New Acquisitions 184


Carolie said...

Dear Don,

My name is Carolie Bartol. Maria Cadwalader was my great-great-grandmother. She married John Hone, Jr. on April 29, 1880, at Trinity Chapel, New York, NY. They had a daughter, Hester Gouverneur Hone, who married Henry George Bartol in 1907. They had Henry G. Bartol, Jr., who was my paternal grandfather.

Probably more information than you wanted, I bet! The reason I'm writing...I am intensely interested to know if you would consider selling either of your Maria Cadwalader miniatures (mother and daughter)? If you would not consider it, or if it would be outside my price range, would you consider sending me some high-resolution digital images, including one of the attached tag? I would be happy to pay you for your time.

Thank you so much! Please write to me at carolie(at)wordmagix(dot)com.

Most sincerely,

Carolie said...

p.s.--Maria died in 1921 and John Hone, Jr. died in 1915.



Sara Greenleaf said...

Hi again, Don,

I'm fascinated with the additional information on the Cadwalader family here. I'm trying to trace a copy of the 1911 PAFA catalogue -- can you give me the exact title and publication date?

Thanks so much for all the work you've done on this site -- what a tremendous resource!

--Sara (sgreenle AT rochester DOT rr DOT com)

Jeffrey C said...

Dear Carolie,

I came upon this blog while researching the Cadwalader family, because I own a decidedly un-miniature portrait (29 x 24") that has restorer's notes attached (by successful artist, David Boyd) where he records the history of the painting as told him in 1954. The woman I bought it from near Easton said she was selling for someone who had owned it for generations. The best affirmation for me is the stunning resemblance between the subject of this portrait, and the Charles Wilson Peale painting of John, Elizabeth and Ann Cadwalader in the 1770s?

I am looking to sell the painting, but I need to know for sure what I'm selling first. Perhaps you are interested on both counts! At a minimum, I'm sure you'd be interested to see the portrait, but I don't think I can attach an image here. Not sure how to contact you so I'm clicking a "email follow-up comments to" my G-mail.

Hope to hear from you.
Jeffrey C

Don Shelton said...

The PAFA catalogue is titled, "Tenth Annual Exhibition of Miniatures, Catalogue" and was published by The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts MDCCCXI.

FYI it refers to 12 miniatures, although without pictures, loaned by
John Cadwalader - 4
Mrs John Cadwalader - 5
Richard M Cadwalader - 3

Don Shelton said...

P.S. I meant MDCCCCXI = 1911!