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George Henry Remsen

Artist:
William Verstille (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1757–1803 Boston, Massachusetts)
Date:
ca. 1790
Medium:
Watercolor on ivory
Dimensions:
1 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (4.8 x 3.7 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of J. William Middendorf II, 1968
Accession Number:
68.222.10
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
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