De Lagercrantz, Ava - portrait of a gentleman

Although the sitter in this American miniature portrait is unknown, the artist is Ava de Lagercrantz, born as Hedvig Gustafa Lagercrantz (9 July 1862-6 May 1938), a Swedish royal portrait painter, active in Sweden (painting Oscar II and Gustav V), New York (1903-1923), Stockholm (1923 to 1936) and Paris (1936-1938).

Her photograph shows her a a young woman. She studied with Kerstin Cardon in Stockholm and Professor Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836-1911) in Paris. She exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1888, 1889 and 1890. In Paris, she painted a portrait of August Strindberg (1849-1912), which now hangs at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. In 1935 she had an exhibition in the Artists' House in Stockholm. It was during her residence in New York, which she twice called back to Sweden, to paint the above noted reigning monarchs.

Lagercrantz was a cousin of Sweden's Ambassador in Washington, Herman Lagercrantz and this became a gateway for orders for portraits in oils, pastels and miniatures from the diplomatic corps, the world of opera and prominent New Yorkers. She was the daughter of Vice Admiral Jacob Reinhold Lagercrantz. Her well-executed portrait of the father was awarded the First Prize at the Paris Salon 1890th In the 1889 Paris Salon, she up with a self-portrait, reproduced in the catalog. Ava's uncle was Sweden's finance minister Gustav Lagercrantz .

The Ava called themselves the Lagercrantz rather than just Lagercrantz had in New York, the purpose, to inform clients that she was of noble (and non-jew) birth and therefore entitled to a slightly higher fee than other, otherwise comparable artists.

Ava died unmarried and childless. She also painted landscapes. Her photographic portrait as an older woman is held by Harvard University.

She participated in Exhibitions by Swedish-American Artists at the Swedish Club of Chicago and was listed in the Women's Who's Who of America for 1914/1915;
Lagercrantz Ava de, Carnegie Hall, 883 Seventh Av., N.T. City. Portrait and miniature painter; b. Carlscrona, Sweden; daughter of Vice-Admiral Jakob Reindold and Nedvig Otilia (Llndstrom) de Lagercrantz; educated in Sweden, studied art in Paris with Jules Lefebvre, Benjamin Constant, Tony Robert Fleury. Has exhibited in Paris Salon and various countries abroad, and in the United States. Painted King Oscar II and Princess Therese of Sweden; was called back in 1908 to Stockholm to paint King Gustaf V (miniature); has painted other royalties and many noted people. Resident of N.Y. City since 1903. Member N.Y. Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage.

It is interesting to note her membership of an anti-sufferage organisation. This may have been a pragmatic move, designed to avoid alienating potential sitters. 1453

Hooper, Rosa - portraits of Palo Alto couple

This pair of miniature portraits of an unknown couple are by the American artist Rosa Hooper (19 Jul 1876-11 Mar 1963). She was born in San Francisco which makes her unusual as a miniature painter from the West Coast as most artists were from the East Coast. She was the founder of the California Society of Miniature Painters in 1912 which continued to exist until 1972. There are several miniatures in this collection by later presidents of that society, including Martha Baxter and Katherine Starr.

Although the sitters are unknown, the portraits were acquired from Palo Alto where Hooper lived. The sitters would have been wealthy residents of the area, so it may be possible to find contemporary portraits in social pages or family albums that would enable the sitters to be identified.

Hooper began her art studies at the Mark Hopkins Institute and continued under Mne. de Billemont in Paris and Otto Eckhardt in Dresden. She wed Chas A. Plotner in 1903 but divorced him to marry Wm Lyon in 1911. She was a resident of San Francisco, Palo Alto, La Jolla, and died in Millbrae, CA on March 11, 1963. Member: SF Women Painters; Spinner's Club (SF); San Diego Art Guild. Exh: SFAA, 1900-1912; Sketch Club, 1907; Alaska-Yukon Exp.

The Rootsweb site includes a lot of information about her kindly collected by other researchers;
From: Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California November 7, 1908
"Miss Kathleen de Young's Persian lamb coat attracted a great deal of admiration at the Keeney tea. Mrs. Selby Hanna and Mrs. Rosa Plotner were among the most colorful and animated pictures there. ..."

From: Oakland Tribune October 7, 1908
..." Mrs. Charles Plotner, who was formerly Miss Rosa Hooper, is one of the society girls of San Francisco who has developed her talent charmingly and is now a leading member of the artistic world of this city. Her miniature work has won her much fame and a number of beautiful women have been exquisitely portrayed by her." ...

From Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California July 2, 1910
"The bit fire caused countless upsets in countless callings in San Francisco and the husband quickly discovered that there are few congenial vocations open to a retired army officer unacquainted with another profession. Husband and wife fondled the deceptive notion that with their experience in living in a hotel they could conduct one successfully. Mrs. Plotner was enthusiastic over an idea of her own to make the care and happiness of the children in a captivating playground the special feature of the new hotel. So the San Margo was leased with a large part of her funds. It proved an unfortunate venture. She returned to miniature painting and gave teas in her studio to which society dutifully responded. Later the domestic friction impelled her to go to Honolulu. She returned from there not long ago and began to lay plans to open up a studio in the city of New York. Of late she has been dividing her time between her stepmother's ranch at Mountain View and the office of her attorney in this city while preparing the divorce on the ground of failure to provide. There is one child a boy. After the hotel failure the husband tried his hand for brief seasons in the motor business and in the jewery line. He is now somewhere in the oil fields - The Wasp. "

From Oakland Tribune, Oakland California May 8, 1921
"Rosa Hooper-Lyon, whose new studio at 1551 Emerson street, Palo Alto, has become a rendezvous for artists visiting at Standford, exhibited her miniatures yesterday at a studio tea, a portrait of Miss Mary Creed Howard, her newest bit of work. Several other portraits on ivory were presented, all characteristic of the artist who had made a distinctive place for herself before The Fire wiped out her studio."

From Oakland Tribune, Oakland California October 1, 1922
"Rosa Hooper Lyon will exhibit the miniature portrait of Mrs. P. L. Seamans of Palo Alto today at the studio of the painter, 2348 Hyde street in San Francisco."

A clipping from the Republican dated October 13, 1922 invites Fresnans to see an exhibition of California landscapes by Bertha Stringer Lee and portrait miniatures by Rose Hooper Lyon in the Hotel Fresno. It apparently was the first art show in Fresno open to the public.

From Place Names of the High Sierra (1926) by Francis P. Farquhar - ROSE LAKE - named by R. B. Marshall, U. S. G. S., for Rosa Hooper, daughter of Major William Burchell Hooper, of San Francisco, and sister of Selden S. Hooper, an assistant of the U. S. G. S. Miss Hooper is now a miniature painter in New York.

From Daily Herald Middletown Times Press, Middletown, New York August 6, 1927
"A choice collection of valuable miniatures has just been announced by Miss Anna M. Walling, superintendent of the domestic department, as one of thenew exhibits at the Orange county fair, which open August 15.
These miniatures are the work of Rose Hooper, of San Francisco and New York, who has been spending part of the summer with Dr. and Mrs. Joseph G. Yocum at their home in Middletown.
Mrs. Hooper is a miniature portrait painter of note and many times a medalist. She won the golf medal at the Panama Pacific Exposition and also at the Lewis Clark Exposition at Seatle. She has studied extensively abroad and exhibited her work in all important exhibitions, both in this country and in Europe."

SS BARBARA Sailing from San Juan Puerto Rico Dec 16 or 18, 1939, Arriving at Port of Philadelphia, PA Dec 21, 1939
Rosa Hooper, 53 years, 5 months, single, born San Francisco, Cal. July 19, 1886. Address in US: % Lt. S. G. Hooper, U.S.S. Boris, Norfolk, Va.

Exhibition of Miniature Paintings by Rose Hooper at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C. April 18, 1940 to May 4, 1940.

As mentioned above, one of the artists she trained with was Otto Eckardt and there are a number of miniature portraits by him in this collection including an important Marmet family group of nine miniatures; 20C - American Miniature Portraits: Eckardt, Otto - portraits of ... other examples by him in the collection are 20C - American Miniature Portraits: Eckardt, Otto - portrait of Jane and 20C - American Miniature Portraits: Eckardt, Otto - portrait of John 1462, 1463


Unknown - portrait of a boy holding a gun

Although it is highly appealing, I am uncertain about the artist who painted this miniature portrait. It is certainly American and highly unusual to show a boy holding a toy gun. Normally, boys were depicted with a hoop, whip, top, or toy horse, whereas girls were depicted with flowers or a doll.

The miniature is housed in a red leather case and the ivory is 112mm x 84mm. Boys wore clothing like this for a number of years from about 1790, but I believe it is later than that, probably about 1820 and from the North East United States.

It is possibly by Anson Dickinson. I say that as the cases of some of his early works show a print of a child on the silk lining. However, that is far from certain and it is hoped a collector of American miniature portraits can suggest the artist.

I do not think it is by Nathaniel Rogers as differences of style can be seen by comparison with this miniature of three children painted by Rogers c1820, where the boy has a similar collar, for more about that see View

In fact although Rogers was very clever in painting heads, his figures are somewhat awkward in comparison, with the pose of the central child here strained, compared to the natural pose of the boy holding a gun.

As always, it is frustrating not to know the name of the sitter and unfortunately there are no clues here. 1453


Mundy, Ethel Frances - portrait of Dorothy Kane

This wax miniature portrait by Ethel Frances Mundy is the largest one I have seen.

It is 200mm (8ins) in diameter. Although the miniature needs a little restoration and the original frame is missing, it is a rare artwork from the early 20C.

Part of the damage can be seen in her hairpiece, which has been flattened by the close proximity and rigidity of a replacement flat glass. That has now been replaced by a perspex cover. The portrait is a little out of focus here, but for a wax portrait to be in such good condition after 100 years and still retain its colors is welcome.

The portrait is inscribed "Dorothy Kane - Anno Domini MCMXIII" (1913) and signed "Ethel Mundy".

It is surprising that so few Art Museums in USA hold portraits by Ethel Mundy. It may be as the wealthy families still possess her miniatures. Mundy was commissioned by many famous families to make portraits in wax. This one is connected to the Astor family and a second one acquired at the same time is connected to the Wanamaker family.

The sitter is Helen Dorothea Kane (2 Aug 1886-1938) who was born in Bar Harbor, Maine and married Seymour Johnson on 17 Feb 1916.

The Astor connection was highlighted in this engagement announcement of 28 November 1915. As an example of the family wealth, in the 1910 census Dorothy and her family lived with seven servants.

When she applied for her passport in 1922, she advised it was to enable her to visit; British Isles, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Gibralter, Algeria, Tangier, Egypt, Constantinople, Thesius, Suez, Syria, and Czechoslovakia. Also Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, Honduras, Brazil, and Colombia. Despite the family wealth, her passport photo was not flattering!

Dorothy was the younger daughter of Walter Langdon Kane (1843-1896) and Mary Rotch Hunter who was the great-great-granddaughter of Richard Stockton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

As a small indication of the vast family wealth, Dorothy inherited $29,366 on the death of her uncle John Innes Kane in 1913, which may have prompted her to have this wax miniature sculpted.

She is mentioned quite often in the society pages of the times, including as a tennis partner to her future husband.

Dorothy and her elder sister, Caroline Hunter Kane (1880-?) were, via their father, descended from John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) He was Dorothy's great-great-grandfather, with her name Dorothea being in memory of her great-grandmother Dorothea Astor (1795-1874) who married Walter Langdon in 1812.

The dress worn by Dorothy can be compared with these two fashionable outfits depicted in the New York Times of October 13, 1914.

Although the image here is not very clear, the wax miniature featured in this magazine article about Ethel Frances Mundy. The article contains a misprint as the sitter is described as "Dorothy Kean" instead of Dorothy Kane.

Other portraits by Ethel Frances Mundy (who is depicted here) which are in this collection, together with more about her career and work, can be seen at View and at View 1457

November 2012 - A kind visitor has sent me another clipping about Ethel Frances Mundy. It is from the Sunday Post of December 4, 1949, and is a little damaged but still very interesting in adding to our knowledge about Ethel and so I have added it here.

The visitor advised as follows;
I saw your blogs about Ethel Frances Mundy, and thought you might like to see another example of her work, done in the late 1940's (I presume). It was part of a show in a Boston gallery in the fall of 1949.  I happen to know about it because of my interest in the woman portrayed, although my interest dates to a period 45-50 years earlier, when Amy designed book covers for (mostly) Boston publishers.  Her work, again if you are interested, can be seen at  

Mundy, Ethel Frances - portrait of Archibald Graham Thompson Jr

There are other miniature wax portraits by Ethel Frances Mundy in this collection, see 3 American Miniature Portraits: Mundy, Ethel Frances - portrait of ... for examples, where there is also information about the artist.

This one is 140mm (six inches) in diameter. It is inscribed "A Portrait of Archibald Graham Thomson Junior - MCMXV" that is 1915, and at the bottom "Ethel Mundy fecit. While the child is wearing a dress and has bobbed hair, it is still a boy, as it was common to dress boys in this manner until they were aged two or three years old. The wax miniature corresponds with the photo of his mother with a child, which may be AGT or his half brother.

Archibald Graham Thomson Junior was born 9 Sep 1912 at Philadelphia and died on 22 Oct 2003. He was the son of Archibald G Thomson Sr (13 Sep 1869-21 Oct 1917) and Mary Lowber Welsh (8 Oct 1868?-3 Feb 1929, who were married on 29 September 1909. AGT senior was a physician in general practice and also a cricketer in the 1890's, see AGT Sr and his father William published papers in on color blindness and other eye treatments which are described at and at and at and at;jsessionid=WR9HW7fbadnbbPuzaclz.10

The obituary of AGT Sr recorded; Archibald G. Thomson, M.D., Philadelphia ; University of
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1892; aged 48; formerly a Fellow of the American Medical Association ; a member of the American Laryngological Association ; well known as an ophthalmologist; a member of the staff of University, Wills, and the Orthopedic Hospital ; died in the private hospital of Dr. Francis X. Dercum, Philadelphia, October 22, from heart disease.

The marriage of Mary to AGT was her second marriage, the first being to Thomas Brown Wanamaker who died in Paris (1862-1908) on 27 Apr 1887, son of John Wanamaker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Her first wedding was a huge event in Philadelphia with 12 ushers and 12 bridesmaids.

Mary's two previous Wanamaker children were living with the Thomson family in 1910, after her second marriage to AGT. The family was wealthy as the 1910 census records a butler, a governess, a nurse, three servants and a laborer living in their house in Chestnut Avenue.If her birth year is correct, Mary would have been aged 44 when AGT Jr was born in 1912. Her second marriage was a major contrast with very few guests.

By the 1930 census AGT Jr was living with his half-brother Thomas B Wanamaker and eight servants in Radnor, Delaware. With TBW, then aged 25, declaring an annual income of $140,000 and describing himself as a merchant. AGT Jr was 17 and gave no occupation. By then both his parents had died. His half-brother, Thomas B. Wanamaker Jr. died on Feb. 23, 1991 as reported in the Princeton Alumni Weekly.
Tom came to Princeton from Ardmore, Penn. and Haverford school, and left the campus in June 1924. He led a roving life: on the Main Line outside of Philadelphia; in Pasadena, Calif.; in Hawaii; Darien, Conn.; a retirement community in Florida; and finally in Ridgefield, Conn. George Denniston describes Tom as quiet and reserved and his half-brother Archibald G. Thomson agrees. He had a deep interest in the theater and in music. A contrasting devotion was to outdoor life, and he enjoyed running his Deep Well Ranch in Palm Springs, Calif., and raising Irish wolf hounds in Pasadena. He was intensely interested in tennis, and attended the big tournaments near his residence in Florida. Always ready for adventure, Tom took WWII in stride, enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve, and made himself useful as a storekeeper in the South Pacific area, which, as other 1927ers know well, was anything but pacific. He was released from the service Jan. 26, 1946 with the rating of Sk 2/c. Tom, obviously a modest fellow, reported briefly for the Class TWENTY YEAR RECORD, but not for our later biographical volumes. One suspects that the reticence veils what must have been one of 1927's most adventurous and colorful lives. The Class renders thanks for information given by Tom's sister-in-law (Mrs. Rodman Wanamaker) and by his half-brother, Archibald G. Thomson.

The brothers made this gift to the Philadelphia Museum;

Costume and Textiles


Made in Italy

Mid- 18th century

Artist/maker unknown, Italian

Silk satin weave embroidered with silk, silver, and gilt thread in couched filling, split, outline, satin, long and short, padded satin, and couching stitches and French knots
Length x Width: 49 1/4 x 29 inches (125.1 x 73.7 cm)

Currently not on view


Gift of Thomas B. Wanamaker, Jr. and Archibald G. Thomson from the Thomas B. Wanamaker Collection, 1942

They also presented to the Museum this dress. The fabric is a white silk taffeta, hand-painted with a flower, leaf, and trailing-vine pattern.1 Based on the width of the fabric, aspects of the painted design, and evidence of the painting techniques employed, we know that the fabric was woven and painted in China. The cut of the dress is typical of a later-eighteenth-century robe à la française: It has a fitted bodice with rounded neckline and short sleeves, a pleated back (not shown), and a wide skirt with an exposed underskirt. (In this image, the underskirt is not original.) The skirt opening is embellished on both sides with a length of the same fabric, box-pleated horizontally; the width of this decoration increases from the waist to the hem. The neckline is also trimmed with narrow (but vertically oriented) box pleats. These fabric insets are then trimmed with a gold-colored silk fringe, here most easily visible at the neckline.

On AGT Jr's death Sotheby's auctioned a diamond brooch. The cartouche of foliate scrolls anchored by a festoon and pairs of fringes, set with 4 old European-cut and 4 pear-shaped diamonds and with 220 smaller old European-cut diamonds, altogether weighing a total of approximately 16.50 carats, mounted in platinum. Provenance: PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ARCHIBALD G. THOMSON, WAYNE, PENNYSYLVANIA.

AGT Jr appears to have married Mary Hayes Fletcher (daughter of Charles Fletcher and Annie Hamilton Watson). She married (1) Tristram Coffin Colket (which name seems to have been carried through several generations). She married (2) Archibald Graham Thomson,Sr. and had two sons, one also called AGT Jr (III) who died on 7 Nov 2009 aged 71, and a second named Charles Fletcher Thomson. This Mary is likely the one quoted in Sports Illustrated on February 11, 1957 answering the Question: If You Saw Someone Violating The Fish And Game Laws Would You Report Him To A Game Warden?

Bryn Mawr, Pa.
I'm tempted to say I would. But would I? I love to shoot, have gone railbird shooting and have shot pheasant and quail. I also shot grouse from Invercauld Castle in Scotland. I know how people can be tempted. I'd never violate the hunting laws, but I couldn't report others.

AGT III worked most of his career in residential real estate finishing at Prudential Roche in the Rosemont. He specialized in selling very large private houses on the Main Line. At college he was an All-New-England small college soccer player and played goalie. He had lived in the Main Line all his life. Mr. Thomson served in the National Guard and in the First Philadelphia City Troop unit. He had been a member of the Merion Cricket Club and of the Racquet Club in Phila. Always interested in hunting, he liked pheasant and grouse hunting and had also quail hunted several times at plantations in Georgia and once had driven grouse in Scotland with his father. In his later years, AGT III volunteered at local retirement homes often reading to seniors with limited sight. He liked cars and had owned many different sports cars. Always fond of dogs, he owned a series of West Highland Terriers. 1456