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John Dallas

ca. 1801 Unidentified oil on panel image (oval): 6 5/16 x 4 1/4 in. (16.0 x 10.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of Mary Elizabeth Spencer 1999.27.80 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

The inscription attached to this miniature reads: “John Dallas Departed this life February 11 1801 Aged 38 Years & 10 months.” John’s death date and the burgundy velour frame suggest that this was a piece of mourning jewelry, given to a loved one to remember the deceased. The formality of the sitter’s dress and pose contrast with his disheveled hair and ravaged face. His appearance implies a mortal illness, while the artist’s careful placement of the sitter next to a window suggests a release from suffering.


Portrait male - Dallas, John - waist length

painting - miniature

paint - oil