February - Addtions

During February these four miniature portraits have been added, three of them being children which is unusual as there is normally a lot of competition for miniature portraits of children.

For two of the additions, I need to thank a kind visitor who referred me to the sale where the two miniatures were offered.

Two are American, one British, and the fourth has been included as American, but the origin is not clear.

This is the miniature of the baby which is smaller than it appears being 33mm x 26mm. It is signed "Micailo" which may be a form of Michael, but no artist has been found with the same name. Thus the name may even be the sitter, for more see View

The early American miniature of a man dates to around 1805 and was acquired at auction in rural Georgia, about 90 miles from Charleston SC. It has a typical American case of the period with beaded bezels front and rear.

A kind visitor has suggested it is most likely by John Marras who was active as a miniaturist in New York 1801-1808 before moving to Constantinople where he became painter to the Sultan.

However, there may be still some doubt about this attribution, as no other examples of his miniatures are available for comparison.

Additionally, the 19C miniaturist and author, William Dunlap in mid 19C book, was very uncomplimentary about an artist named Monsieur Maras.

So much so, it seems unlikely he was referring to the artist who painted this miniature as the quality of the painting is not disgraced by comparison with other artists who painted around 1805, including Malbone and Fraser.

Perhaps a more likely artist is the Frenchman Belzons who was active in Charleston SC around 1795-1812 and who taught both Charles Fraser and Thomas Sully. For more see View

The miniature of the young girl with ringlets and a blue ribbon is American and possibly signed "J Dyart". It came from Chester, New York.

From the costume of the unknown sitter, it would seem to date to around 1900 to 1910. Although it could be a little later than that.

It is housed in a case of typical American design which looks to be made of unmarked silver. For more about the portrait see View

Although it may seem so from the images shown here, neither this miniature, nor the following one of Helen Muriel Forshaw appear to have a photographic base.

Nevertheless, as mentioned elsewhere, I do not consider a very faint photographic base a major handicap, provided the subsequent hand painting demonstrates that the artist was skilled.

The miniature of the young girl is signed, but so indistinctly that the name cannot be read.

However, the sitter is Helen Muriel Forshaw (1908-2002). Muriel, as she was known, never married. She was born in England but spent part of her very early childhood in Canada before returning to England for the rest of her life.

The seller was very kind and included a photograph of Muriel taken in 2000. It is interesting that by chance, Muriel is sitting in a very similar pose, with one hand holding the arm of a chair.

I do not think there is another instance in this collection of a miniature portrait, together with a photograph of the sitter taken again so late in life.

Here they must be nearly ninety years different.

Muriel recalled that at the exact time of the sinking of the Titanic, she was crossing the Atlantic with her parents, but on a more southerly course.

As mentioned, the miniature is signed, but it is very indistinct and a photo of the signature can be seen at View

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