Portrayed by Canadian artist Robert Field, Dr. James Sergeant Ewing engages the viewer with a slightly upturned gaze. Ewing, whose father had been president of the University of Pennsylvania, hailed from a prominent family. He worked as a pharmacist and contributed to the invention of several devices that improved the operation of steam engines. Ewing’s rich brown coat, which Field rendered in intricate detail, provides subtle indication of his stature.
This miniature commemorated Ewing’s marriage to Catherine Margaretta Otto in 1798. The lock of her hair encased on the back served Otto as a kind of talisman through which the couple could always be connected.
Written by Timothy Clark (Class of 2012)
American Art Intern, Spring 2011