A Boston artist - portrait of a young lady

This miniature portrait of an unidentfied young lady in a black dress with a white lace shawl was painted in Boston around 1835-1840. The size is 2 3/4 inches by 2 1/4 inches (72mmx57mm). The image showing does not do justice to the quality of the detail, but it may not be by a professionally trained artist.

Although it is unsigned, it is contained within a leatherette case of the period which has the maker's label reading "Made at Smith's, No 2, Milk St., Opposite Old South, Boston."

The label is identical to the example showing here, except it is on pink paper. The yellow example coming from the portrait by Moses B Russell at  View

Smith provided cases to the premier miniature painters of Boston at the time and, apart from the portrait by Moses B Russell, there are in this collection miniatures by Alvan Clark (1804-1887) and Richard Morrell Staigg (1817-1881) with the same framemaker's label.

This knowledge invites speculation as to the artist for this portrait. The style seems unlike Moses B Russell, Alvan Clark, and Richard Morrell Staigg, so they can all be ruled out.

There were other artists working in Boston at various stages between 1830 and 1850, including;
Augustus Fuller (1812-1873), Eliza Goodridge (1798-1882), Sarah Goodridge (1788-1853), George Harvey (1800-1878), and Mrs M B Russell (1809-1854).

No firm attribution has been made, but the most similar portraits available for comparison are Figures 209 and 210 in Johnson, which are repeated as figures 397 and 398 in Barratt. Both those volumes state the portraits are by Moses B Russell, but a kind expert on American miniatures has expressed the opinion that those two portraits are more likely to be by Mrs M B Russell (Clarissa Peters). That seems more likely as the two portraits demonstrate less skill than Moses B Russell.

Having said all that, no firm attribution can be made for this portrait, but if by any of these artists, it may be by Mrs M B Russell, or perhaps less likely by Sarah Goodridge. 1410

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