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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Artist, attributed to: Matthew Pratt, American, 1734–1805
Subject: Alice Langdale, American, 1745–1787

Alice Coates Langdale (1745–1787)

ca. 1765

Watercolor on ivory

1 1/2 × 1 1/4 in. (3.8 × 3.2 cm)
Lelia A. and John Hill Morgan, B.A. 1893, LL.B. 1896, M.A. (Hon.) 1929, Collection
The son of a goldsmith, Matthew Pratt apprenticed to his uncle, a Philadelphia portrait painter. In 1764, he was among the wave of American artists who traveled overseas to study with Benjamin West. He and his wife in fact accompanied West’s fiancée to London and attended West’s wedding. Pratt studied with West for two years and in 1768 returned to Philadelphia, where he continued his practice as a portrait and sign painter. This miniature of Philadelphia Quaker Alice Coates Langdale is housed in a green shagreen case with decorative floral-shaped washers. Pratt may have painted it either before her 1765 marriage or in her widowhood, after Pratt’s return from England. Alice wed her first cousin John Langdale, but the union ended tragically when her husband drowned just two months later. Her veil is probably an adornment invented by Pratt rather than a bridal veil or a widow’s cap, as the artist often featured a veil in his full-scale portraits of women.
Made in United States
Not on view
18th 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.