Unidentified (French), Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1775, watercolor on ivory, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund, 1954.6.5
In this miniature the woman’s sparkling blue eyes draw us into the image. Her hairstyle reflects the French vogue for elaborately teased and “built-up” hair. In a letter from 1783, Thomas Jefferson noted that the simpler colonial styles made a woman’s head “as flat as a flounder.” The sitter imitated European fashions to convey her wealth and status, at a time when many colonial Americans were adopting a plainer style to express their desire for independence.
Portrait of a Lady
- ca. 1775
- Not on view
2 3/8 in. (6.0 cm) diam.
- Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Museum purchase through the Catherine Walden Myer Fund
- Mediums Description
- watercolor on ivory
- Portrait female – unidentified – bust
- Object Number
- Linked Open Data
- Linked Open Data URI