Admiral Adam Duncan (1731–1804)

Artist:
Attributed to Philip Jean (British, 1755–1802)
Medium:
Ivory
Dimensions:
Oval, 2 x 1 1/2 in. (50 x 40 mm)
Classification:
Miniatures
Credit Line:
Bequest of Mary Clark Thompson, 1923
Accession Number:
24.80.524
Not on view
A card backing the miniature is inscribed in pencil in a recent hand Admiral / Duncan / by R Cosway RA. The wooden frame has gilt metal mounts.

The attribution to Richard Cosway is incorrect. The work is probably by Philip Jean, who made many miniatures of naval commanders, no doubt a result of his early service in the navy. Born at St. Ouen in Jersey, Channel Islands, Jean served in the British navy before devoting himself to miniature painting. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1787 until 1802, the year of his death. He also painted full-scale portraits and was patronized by members of the royal family.

The identification as Admiral Duncan, viscount Duncan, the victor over the Dutch at the battle of Camperdown (1797), is supported by comparison with the portrait by John Singleton Copley in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich (BHC 2670).

[2016; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]
Mary Clark Thompson, New York and Canandaigua, N.Y. (until d. 1923)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1996–January 5, 1997, no. 152.

Graham Reynolds with the assistance of Katharine Baetjer. European Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1996, pp. 140–41, no. 152, ill., reject the attribution to Cosway inscribed on the backing card, stating that "the work is probably by Philip Jean, who made many miniatures of naval commanders, no doubt a result of his early service in the navy"; note that the identification of the sitter "is supported by comparison with the portrait by John Singleton Copley in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich".