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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Artist: Anson Dickinson, American, 1779–1852
Subject: Epaphroditus Champion, American, 1756–1834

General Epaphroditus Champion (1756-1834 or 1835)


Watercolor on ivory

3 5/16 × 2 11/16 in. (8.4 × 6.8 cm)
Gift of Francis Bacon Trowbridge, B.A. 1887, LL.B. 1890

Born in Milton, Connecticut, Anson Dickinson apprenticed to a silversmith in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1796, and first advertised as an artist in the local press in 1802. He briefly received instruction from the celebrated miniaturist Edward Greene Malbone, who painted Dickinson’s portrait in 1804. Dickinson’s more than fifteen hundred commissions reveal that he traveled extensively along the East Coast but worked mainly in Connecticut and New York. Dickinson was widely admired by many of his contemporaries, including Malbone, the master of Federal-era miniatures, and Gilbert Stuart, the famous oil portraitist.

Dickinson painted miniature portraits of General Epaphroditus Champion and his wife, Lucretia, as a pair. At the time they were painted, the Champions had been married for forty-four years. Typical of Dickinson’s patrons, the Champions, of East Haddam, Connecticut, held a distinguished position in society. General Champion fought in the Revolutionary War, serving briefly with Colonel John Trumbull. He later became a successful businessman before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from 1807 to 1817. The intimate mood and relatively soft, washy palette of this portrait and its pair suggest the couple’s preference for earlier miniature conventions. While aesthetically the portraits look to the past, the rectangular red-leather cases look forward, anticipating the daguerreotype cases of later decades.

Made in United States
Not on view
19th century
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.