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Loan Object
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: John Brewster, Jr., American, 1766–1854


ca. 1835

Watercolor on ivory

Promised bequest of Davida Tenenbaum Deutsch and Alvin Deutsch, LL.B. 1958, in honor of Kathleen Luhrs

This girl is thought to be the older sister of a baby portrayed in another miniature by John Brewster, Jr. Both children are depicted wearing a coral necklace and an off-the-shoulder white dress, suggesting the portraits were painted as a pair. While her younger sibling holds a rattle, this young girl carries roses, whose closed buds symbolize the innocence of youth. The pink color of the roses, also seen in the sitter’s sleeves and her lips, appears faded, the result of the sensitive watercolor pigments having been exposed to light over time. The gilded brass surface of the locket’s reverse side is elaborately chased to create a decorative pattern of flowers, leaves, and swirls. At the center is an inset compartment designed to hold locks of hair, which is now empty.

Connecticut-born itinerant artist John Brewster, Jr., advertised his services in local newspapers as both a portrait and a miniature painter. Born deaf, Brewster was taught the rudiments of painting by the Hampton, Connecticut, artist Rev. Joseph Stewart before embarking on his own career as a portraitist in the 1790s. A perceptive and prolific artist, Brewster was particularly skilled at rendering children. When his brother Royal moved to Buxton, Maine, Brewster accompanied him, and this remained his home for the rest of his life. As was the norm for itinerant portraitists, Brewster traveled frequently throughout northern New England in search of portraiture commissions.

Not on view
19th century
Miniatures - Jewelry

Marguerite Riordan; Davida Tenenbaum Deutsch and Alvin Deutsch

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.