A beautifully limned miniature portrait painting by Elkanah Tisdale. The sitter, though unknown, is a handsome young man dressed in a black coat. The painting measures 3" by 2", and is in superb condition, with no chips, cracks, bowing, paint loss, or restoration. It is housed in a later metal case.
Few miniatures by Tisdale are known to exist, and with very rare exception, are, as is the case here, unsigned.
Tisdale was born in CT around 1771, then moved to and worked in NYC from 1794 to 1798, the year he met Benjamin Trott, who influenced Tisdale's style. In 1809-1810 he and Trott were in Albany, sharing a studio, after having left NYC to flee a yellow fever epidemic. Tisdale later settled in Hartford, CT. One of his most well-known accomplishments was the first cartoon, depicting the 1812 MA state senatorial districting under Governor Elbridge Gerry. This cartoon engendered the infamous term "gerrymander."
No doubt in part due to his association with Trott, Tisdale used the ivory surface to great advantage, using it to create glowing skin tones and a liveliness to the background. Both used lighter cross hatching in the upper portions of the background, leading to darker tones, often in shades of blue, in the lower portions of the paintings.