William Verstille (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1757–1803 Boston, Massachusetts)
Watercolor on ivory
1 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (4.8 x 3.7 cm)
Gift of J. William Middendorf II, 1968
Not on view
Verstille painted his first miniatures during the American Revolution, when he made small portraits of officers while a member of the troops. After the war, he lived in Connecticut and then moved to Philadelphia and New York, where he learned a bit from the fine miniaturist John Ramage (24.109.93). In New York, he kept a detailed account book recording his commissions for mourning pieces, hairwork, and jewelry. His portrait of George Henry Remsen (1768–1804), a member of a prominent merchant family, dates from his New York period: the brushwork has a sketchy quality with thin wavering lines. Remsen is portrayed in Verstille's typical fashion, with long, narrow eyes, a long crooked nose, lips that curl at the corners, and bristly hair.
Inscription: Inscribed in hair pigment on oval ivory plaque in hair reserve: GHR [in monogram] Engraved on verso, at a later date: George Henry Remsen / B 16 Jan. 1768 D 29 Jan. 1804
Artist: William Verstille (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1757–1803 Boston, Massachusetts)Date: ca. 1790 (recto); ca. 1801 (verso)Medium: Watercolor on ivoryAccession: 2006.235.266On view in:Not on view