A Pioneer Woman

  • Unidentified, A Pioneer Woman, ca. 1840, watercolor on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund, 1963.5

Luce Center Label

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.

A Pioneer Woman
ca. 1840
Not on view
sight 7 1/2 x 6 in. (19.0 x 15.2 cm) rectangle
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund

Mediums Description
watercolor on paper
  • Portrait female – unidentified – waist length
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI