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Portrait of a Gentleman

ca. 1850 Unidentified watercolor on ivory sight 2 7/8 x 2 3/8 in. (7.3 x 6.0 cm) oval Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mrs. C. H. Roper 1963.11.6 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

The gentleman in this miniature embodies the nineteenth-century middle class. The elaborate cravats and collars of the first few decades in the nineteenth century gave way to this “uniform” of a bourgeois gentleman, groomed and sitting stiffly for his portrait. The leaf-patterned frame suggests that this miniature was painted for the man’s wife or sweetheart, and if so, the sitter would have wanted to present himself as a suitable “catch.”


Portrait male - unidentified - bust

painting - miniature

paint - watercolor