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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Artist: Pierre Henri, American, born France, ca. 1760–1822
Subject: Margaret Smith Rose, American, 1747–1799

Margaret Smith Rose (1747–1799)

1790–93

Watercolor over graphite pencil on ivory

2 × 1 9/16 in. (5.1 × 4 cm)
Lelia A. and John Hill Morgan, B.A. 1893, LL.B. 1896, M.A. (Hon.) 1929, Collection
1940.516
This miniature depicts Margaret Smith, the daughter of the Loyalist chief justice of New York. In 1779, Margaret moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to wed Alexander Rose, a Patriot serving in the militia. After the war, both Alexander and Margaret had miniatures painted by Pierre Henri, a French artist active in Charleston from 1790 to 1793. Henri came to America to meet the growing demand for miniatures, bringing a more decorative mode of miniature painting. He advertised his abilities in New York in 1788, and later in Philadelphia; Baltimore; Richmond, Virginia; and Charleston, South Carolina. Henri offered to paint likenesses “from the size of a small ring, to that of the largest locket,” in full length and even in groups. In keeping with the often private, sometimes illicit, nature of miniatures as love tokens, he also reassured patrons that “[t]hose who might wish to be drawn privately may depend upon inviolable secrecy.” As a merchant and shipowner, Alexander traveled often, and the miniature of Margaret may have accompanied him. This locket exhibits particularly fine hairwork and chasing on the gold rim. The striking prominence of the woven hair, which required no further embellishment, suggests that these locks once belonged to Margaret, whose eccentric geometric hairstyle is displayed in Henri’s portrait. This miniature of Margaret descended in the family, testifying to its continued personal significance.
Geography: 
Made in United States
Status: 
Not on view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Miniatures - Jewelry
Provenance: 

the sitter; to her daughter, Amelia Rose; to her niece, Mrs. Amelia L. (Rose) Guerard, until 1885; to her son, Dr. Arthur Rose Guerard, Rutherford, N.J., until 1930; sold to John Hill Morgan, New York, via Ehrich Gallery, 1930-1940; to Yale University Art Gallery, 1940.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.