Goodridge, Sarah - portrait of a lady

In a post last year I commented about damaged miniatures.

Generally, I avoid buying cracked miniatures, but from time to time do buy them if the price is not too expensive.

This one came from Maine and will be useful for reference purposes, as I believe it is by Sarah Goodridge (1788-1853). Her work in good condition can go for high prices, so it is useful to have a miniature by her that can be used for comparison when considering potential attributions.

Sarah was the elder of two sisters, and her younger sister Eliza Goodridge (1798-1882) also painted miniatures. Johnson describes Sarah as "America's finest woman miniaturist". Given that praise, it is hoped visitors will forgive the crack.

Sarah received informal instruction from Gilbert Stuart and lived her entire life in Boston, supporting her mother, her paralytic brother, and a niece from her painting.

Based upon a comparison with this photograph of Eliza Goodridge taken c1870, it is even possible that this miniature is a miniature portrait of Eliza Goodridge, painted by Sarah Goodridge around 1825.

So far, no other images of Eliza have been located, but one imagines that they exist somewhere, as the sisters must have sat for one another to improve their painting skills.

Stylistically, the miniature is similar, although a little less mature, when compared to this miniature by Sarah Goodridge of Mrs Alice Goudry of Wilmington Massachusetts, which is in the Metropolitan Museum collection and which has been dated as c1830-1835, although I would date it a little earlier than that by the neck frill, perhaps closer to 1820-1825.

Aside from possibly being of Eliza Goodridge, one could also believe this miniature of an unknown lady, is a portrait of Alice Goudry as the features and expression are again quite similar.

Johnson has described Sarah's work: "Goodridge's best works are direct, realistic, powerfully individualised portraits. Her brushwork is tightly controlled and the compositions tiny in scale; yet in costume, color, and pose, these miniatures are strongly influenced by the work of Gilbert Stuart."

And " The subject is often placed low on the ivory; backgrounds are usually blue-grey shaded to brown at the bottom; skin tones are light cream and pink. Ladies are frequently painted wearing a hair ornament, jewellery, and a bright red paisley shawl."

However, the hair ornament and red shawl are absent with this miniature, which is likely to be one of her earlier works. 1297

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