Rogers, Nathaniel - Three children

This appealing miniature portrait of three children is by the accomplished American artist, Nathaniel Rogers (1787-1844). I confess that he is my favorite American miniature painter, and there are now nine miniatures by him in this collection. The others can be seen below where there are links to more details about them and about Rogers.

Unfortunately, the three children here are unidentified, but there seems a strong probability that the Metropolitan collection includes a miniature of the same eldest child.

It is shown below for comparison. The features are a little different, with the single version having features a little sharper, but the hairstyle and dress are identical in the two images.

The Metropolitan example is described as being 72mm x 59mm, so is smaller than that of the threesome which is 111mm x 86mm.

Additionally, the Metropolitan catalogue describes their portrait as being in a "green leather case with ormulu mount" and the miniature here is housed in a similar case.

It would be interesting to know the history of the two portraits. The Metropolitan one was gifted in 1990, and prior to being acquired for this collection, the threesome came from a collection accumulated during and after World War II. 1440

More about the other examples in this collection can be seen at;
Rogers, Field, Edwards, and another artist - View
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of David Ryerson
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of Dana Eleutheros Comstock
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of a man
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of Master Bucknell
Rogers, Nathaniel - portrait of a young man

The others are shown here so that the development of Rogers style can be seen. One is in a "make-do" case of around 1815 with an extra fillet, and the others range through to the rectangular one dating to about 1830, which has an unusual background very similar in style to two portraits of ladies by Rogers in the Metropolitan collection.

Over time, Rogers tended to move from a more angular, gaunt and unsmiling style, reminiscent of Joseph Wood and appropriate to the United States during the time of the 1807 Embargo Act and the resultant War of 1812, to a well-fed and rosy cheeked appearance, with a hint of a smile, during the following years of peace and prosperity! This latter period was a time when more people could afford to have miniatures painted and hence most of Rogers miniatures date from between 1820 and 1835, with his output seeming to cease just prior to the advent of the cold wind of photography. Rogers was only 57 when he died, so could have been even more prolific had he lived longer.

Restoration of the Nathaniel Rogers House in Bridgehampton NY is officially underway. The house was built for Rogers in 1842 and known as Hampton House. Its magnificence gives a idea of how important he was as an artist. The house has apparently suffered from deferred maintenance and so the restoration is welcome. These days, the price of the exterior stabilization will be $1.9 million, but that's just a drop in the ionic column compared to the renovation's total expected cost of $4.5 million. Of that sum, the historical society already has commitments of $2.2 million, including $1.1 million from Southampton Town over the next three years. Another $850,000 has come from private donors, and $250,000 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The building has been listed on the National and New York State Registers of Historic Places.

It is intended to hold a major exhibition of Rogers' work in the house on completion. Successful and sympathetic restoration of the project may lead to a resurgence of interest in Rogers who, as with other miniature painters of the 19C and early 20C, has been much under-rated as an artist. The Project welcomes donations. Nathaniel Rogers House Preservation Project

For those interested, there is an extensive article about Rogers at; The Legacy of Nathaniel Rogers (1787-1844) Long Island Artist from ...


Dennis, Edgar - self portrait?

This miniature portrait is by a previously unrecorded American artist, Edgar Dennis. It may well be a self portrait, as it has that kind of appearance about it, where extra attention is paid to the detail, compared to portraits painted for commercial purposes.

On the reverse there is an outline of a man's head and a signature in pencil, "Painted by Edgar Dennis, NL, Ct." where NL stands for New London, Connecticut. The miniature is relatively large at 110mm x 90mm.

While somewhat primitive in style, the composition and brushwork are excellent. The shading is very cleverly done, especially on his clothing and on his face. Few miniatures from any country have such detailed backgrounds.

A kind visitor has assisted with the following information.
Edgar Dennis appears to have been born on 12 August 1823 at New London Township. There is no record of a marriage and he died on 12 April 1852 at the age of 28. He was the son of Henry Dennis (1788-1870) and his wife Sarah Sally Briggs) (1792-1870), who were married on 2 June 1807 in New London and had a number of children. 1441

Later - February 2013 I have been sent another portrait by Edgar Dennis by a kind descendent who lives in Ct. She apologizes for the image quality, which is taken through the glass, but comments; "I would like to hear from any other descendents who might see your blog and might have some information about the family. Aunt Frances would be Edgar's aunt. He had a sister named Frances Jane Dennis but considering he died at age 28 and this woman appears to be older.... ..Plus my great aunt, from whom I got this miniature, wrote on the back "Grandfather Dennis's Aunt Frances" He was Henry Gallup Dennis-Edgar's older brother(about 10 years older). So far I can't find any evidence that she was a Dennis so guessing she must have been a Briggs. Their mother was Sally Briggs Dennis".

Thus extra comments being posted about the family are very welcome.