American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Mary Way, American, 1769–1833


ca. 1800

Collage-applique on fabric

2 5/8 × 2 in. (6.7 × 5.1 cm)
Lelia A. and John Hill Morgan, B.A. 1893, LL.B. 1896, M.A. (Hon.) 1929, Collection
One of the earliest female professional miniaturists, Mary Way was a New London, Connecticut, native. She did not marry and supported herself through art and teaching. In 1809, she opened a boarding school for young ladies and gave lessons in reading, writing, and the feminine accomplishments of painting and sewing. In the 1790s, Way had combined these traditional skills to offer to clients “dressed miniatures,” such as this one, that appear to be almost unique in America. This portrait combines a cutout watercolor-on-paper profile with pieces of fabric sewed and glued on a black fabric ground. The boarding school apparently failed, but Way, skilled in watercolor on ivory portraits, practiced as a portrait and miniature painter in New York from 1811 to 1818 and ran a drawing academy there for several years.
Made in New London, Connecticut, United States
Not on view
18th century
Miniatures - Jewelry
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.