A fine example of American folk art, painted by John Brewster Jr. on natural organic material. The sitter is a gentleman with light red hair and blue eyes. He is attired in a black coat, white vest, white ruffled shirt, and white silk cravat. The miniature is in its original case, the reverse with a glazed window containing a plait of hair atop which is a gold initial.
The condition is excellent, with no chips, cracks, bowing, paint loss, or restoration. The case is also in excellent condition, with several very minor dents on the reverse. Overall size is 2 7/8" by 2 3/8".
John Brewster Jr. was born in 1766 in Connecticut. He was born a deaf mute, which might have contributed to his choice of becoming an itinerant painter. However, he was not the typical painter of this type, as the wealth and status of his parents allowed him entree to many elite families in and around New York, Maine, and Connecticut, the areas where he spent most of his time.
He actually began painting around 1790, moved to Maine with his parents about 6 years later, and seems to have done most of his work there. He also spent a considerable amount of time in Connecticut, actually attending a school for the deaf and dumb during a 3 year period in the first quarter of the 19th century.
Brewster's style was influenced by that of Ralph Earl, and emphasized simple settings and soft facial features. After the 1830's period there does not appear to be much known of Brewster or his works, and he died in Buxton, Maine in 1854. Because of the visual impact of his portraiture, and his importance as one of the leading folk artists of his time, his portraits and miniatures are actively sought after by museums and collectors.