Martha Battle Fort

  • Unidentified, Martha Battle Fort, ca. 1835, watercolor on ivory, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Annie Fort McCardle, 1964.12.2

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It is not always possible to identify the sitter in a miniature portrait, and research is still being done on some of the works in the Museum’s collection. Miniatures became popular in England during the early 1700s, commissioned by wealthy families on the occasions of births, engagements, weddings, and bereavements. These paintings, elaborately set into lockets or brooches, provided the wearer with a sentimental connection to a loved one. The back of the miniature often revealed a lock of the sitter’s hair, symbolizing affection, commitment, or loss. The daguerreotype, invented in 1839, provided a cheaper, faster alternative, and portrait miniatures grew less popular. At the turn of the twentieth century, with the establishment of the American Society of Miniature Painters, miniatures enjoyed a brief revival.

Martha Battle Fort
ca. 1835
Not on view
sight 2 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (7.0 x 5.7 cm) oval
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Bequest of Annie Fort McCardle

Mediums Description
watercolor on ivory
  • Portrait female – Fort, Martha Battle – waist length
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI