Staigg, Richard Morrell - portrait of a young lady

Richard Morrell Staigg (1817-1881) was born in Britain and attended a drawing school in Leeds.

In 1831 he moved to the United States with his father, and four years later he settled with the family in Newport.

In his artistic efforts he met with encouragement and advice from Washington Allston, and soon devoted himself entirely to miniature painting.

He was a regular exhibitor at the National Academy of Design, New York City, of which he was elected an associate in 1856, and an academician in 1861.

He visited Europe 1867-1869, and again 1872-1874.

The last twenty years of his life were devoted to painting life-size portraits in oil, as well as genre pieces and landscapes.

Although this miniature of an unknown young lady is unsigned, it has some similarities with his other works. The face is very finely painted, especially when viewed with a magnifying glass.

In this example, the fixed gaze in the sitter's eyes suggests the portrait may have been copied from a daguerreotype, perhaps after her death. That was not uncommon, as with John Henry Brown who painted a number of miniatures from daguerreotypes, of which there are examples in this collection.

During his mid and later period Staigg's miniature works more and more resembled the large oil paintings he was also producing. As with two other miniature portraits in this collection, one of Colonel William Winchester; 2 - American Miniature Portraits: Staigg, Richard Morrell ... and one of an unknown man Staigg, Richard Morrell - portrait of a man

Another factor supporting the attribution, is the frame-maker's label; "S J H Smith, Maker, No 215 Washington Street, Up Stairs, Opposite Franklin Street, Boston". Several signed works by Staigg are in cases made by the same case maker, who also operated out of 2 Milk St and 182 Washington St. The address of 215 Washington Street suggests this is a later work by Staigg, dating to sometime after 1850. 1379

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