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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Benjamin Trott, American, c. 1770–1843
Subject: Joseph Anthony, Jr., American, 1762–1814

Joseph Anthony, Jr. (1762-1814)

ca. 1794–95

Watercolor over graphite pencil on ivory

2 7/8 × 2 1/4 in. (7.3 × 5.7 cm) framed (H): 3 7/8 in.(9.8 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection

The son of a Rhode Island ship captain and merchant, Joseph Anthony, Jr., was born in Newport and trained there as a silversmith. In 1782 he moved to Philadelphia, where he soon established his own business as a silversmith and importer of luxury goods, benefitting from his father’s trade contacts. Anthony was a first cousin of the portraitist Gilbert Stuart, and it may have been Stuart who introduced him to the miniaturist Benjamin Trott, as Stuart and Trott often worked together. This locket likely adorned Anthony’s wife, Henrietta, the daughter of Michael Hillegas, the first treasurer of the United States, and it may have been commissioned for the couple’s engagement or their marriage in 1795.

Boston-born Benjamin Trott is considered one of the most skilled miniaturists of his era. His early training is unknown; he arrived in New York in 1793 already possessing, according to his friend William Dunlap, “a great portion of skill.” In New York he met the artist Gilbert Stuart and subsequently accompanied him to Philadelphia, frequently painting miniatures after Stuart’s oil portraits. Although Trott traveled extensively after 1794 in search of commissions, Philadelphia was to remain his center of activity for some thirty years. During Trott’s early years there, he shared a studio with Thomas Sully and painted miniature portraits of many of the same clients from Philadelphia’s mercantile elite. Throughout his career, friends and patrons noted Trott’s temperamental and eccentric character.

Made in United States
Not on view
18th century
Miniatures - Jewelry

Philadelphia: Three Centuries of American Art (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1976), 177, fig. 146.

Robin Jaffee Frank, Love and Loss (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000), 161,162-63, 323nn6,7, fig. 84.

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.