Pamelia Hill - portrait of Eliza Cabot Blanchard

Miniatures by the American artist, Pamelia Hill (1803-60) are uncommon. Some sources give her name as Pamela Hill, but Pamelia is the correct spelling.

The miniature is signed on the reverse "Painted by Pamelia Hill June 1842".

The Smithsonian has one example by her, where it is stated, "Little is known about the miniaturist Pamelia Hill, except that she worked in Massachusetts before the Civil War and painted several portraits of prominent Worcester families."

The miniature was purchased on Ebay from a seller in France, who had previously purchased it at an auction in France. How it reached France is an unexplained puzzle.

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For more on this miniature, see further below.

A very kind visitor has since contacted me, to advise that there is the attached photograph of this miniature in the Frick Collection of images.  It is rare to be able to identify an unnamed portrait so the contact was very welcome.

There the sitter is identified as  Eliza Cabot Blanchard, who died of tuberculosis in 1842. From that key information it has been possible to learn a little more about her life.

Eliza (sometimes Elizabeth) was adopted by Samuel Pickering Gardner (1767-1843) and Rebecca Russell Lowell (1779-1853) after she lost her parents to tuberculosis in 1814.   


Eliza's was born in 1809, and her parents were Francis Blanchard and Mary Cabot, and after they died she was adopted by the Gardeners. Eliza married Robert Charles Winthrop on 12 March 1832.  See,, Robert and Elizabeth had three children:
  • Robert Charles Winthrop, Jr. (1834–1905), who married Frances Pickering Adams (1836–1860). After her death, he married Elizabeth Mason (1844–1924), daughter of Robert Means Mason (1810–1879) and Sarah Ellen Francis (1819–1865) and granddaughter of Jeremiah Mason, on June 1, 1869.
  • Elizabeth "Eliza" Cabot Winthrop (1838–1921)[15]
  • John Winthrop (b. 1841)

Eliza died on 14 Jun 1842, believed to also be from tuberculosis. Thus this portrait must have either been painted from life, just before she died, or perhaps more likely was was painted from an earlier daguerreotype taken in the months before she died.

Robert Charles Winthrop then married Laura (nee Derby) Welles, widow of Arnold Francis Welles, on 6 November 1849. Laura died in 1861 and  0n November 15, 1865, Robert was married for the third and final time, to Adele (née Granger) Thayer (1820–1892), the widow of John E. Thayer.   Robert was the 18th Speaker of the US House of Representatives, see

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