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Maker(s):Porter, Rufus (attributed to)
Culture:American (1792-1884)
Title:Miniature Double Portrait of Jonathan Smith and Pamelia Moors Smith
Date Made:1825
Materials:watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper; original reverse-painted glass, gilt frame
Place Made:Massachusetts: Chelmsford
Measurements:Frame: 6 1/16 x 5 x 1 1/8 in; 15.4 x 12.7 x 2.9 cm; Sight: 4 1/2 x 3 3/8 in; 11.4 x 8.6 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2023.8.16
Credit Line:Gift of Juliene and Carl M. Lindberg
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Double portrait miniature attributed to Rufus Porter, sitters are Jonathan Smith (1805–1877) and his wife Pamelia Moors Smith (1803–1860), the couple married on November 25, 1825. The back of frame is inscribed “Wedding picture of Allan S. Dewer’s great-great-grandparents Smith (mother’s side of family)”. This is the only known example of a double portrait attributed to Rufus Porter. Couple is facing left, Jonathan Smith is superimposed and staggered to reveal his wife; Jonathan Smith is dressed in a dark blue coat with a white shirt and black cravat; his brown, curly hair is brushed forward; his wife Pamelia Moors Smith is dressed in a light blue gown with a white ruffled color tied with a blue ribbon; she has brown hair and a ringlet curl on her temple. The elogmise or reverse painted glass is painted in an oval with a black background with gold streaks along the edge of the oval; the gilt wooden frame has a twisted rope decoration in the cove, both glass and gilt frame are original to the portrait. This is a good example of how Porter’s style progresses. By 1825, instead of rhythmical deft touches of the brush in watercolor, his focus has shifted to a more precise rendering of light and shadow making for a more static and sculptural reading of his subjects.

Label Text:
Bowdoin College Museum of Art Rufus Porter’s Curious World: Art and Invention in America, 1815–1860
December 12, 2019–May 31, 2020, label text: The portrait of Jonathan Smith, a tailor, and his wife Pamelia Moors is the only known double portrait attributed to Porter. Because the couple married in 1825, family descendants long considered the work a wedding portrait. The well-modulated light gives the sitters a three-dimensional quality. Its original gilt frame further enhances the likenesses. Reproduced in Deborah M. Child,"Thank Goodness for Granny Notes: Rufus Porter and his New England Sitters," In Collect, 01 October 2011.

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