A wonderful watercolor on natural wafer, painted by Robert Field. The sitter, a very pretty young woman with brown hair and eyes, is posed in front of a red drapery, and is wearing a black jacket over a white dress with a neck ruffle. The ebonized frame appears to be original, as is the cover glass which has a black and eglomise border.
The condition of this rare gem is excellent, with no cracks, chips, paint loss, or bowing. Except for a discolored area in the top right, the frame is also in excellent condition. The sight size of the painting is 2 7/8" by 2 1/4", with a frame size of 6" by 5 1/4".
NOTE: Robert Field (1769–1819) was born in London, England, and although the details of his early career in England are obscure, it is known that he received his early training around 1790 at the Royal Academy schools. In 1794 he moved to the United States as part of the influx of British artists and craftsmen enticed by the prosperity of the new republic. After settling briefly in Baltimore he took up residence in Philadelphia, the U.S. capital at that time. There he immediately joined a group of artists led by Charles Willson Peale, the noted painter, in establishing the Columbianum, or American Academy of the Fine Arts, which was eventually superseded by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1805.
Field spent 14 years in the United States, working as a miniature painter in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington, and Boston. During this period he produced miniatures of George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and a wide range of people prominent in the social, economic, and political life of American society. In 1808, he left the United States for Halifax, Nova Scotia., a city that was enjoying unprecedented prosperity because of its position as a base for British naval operations. Several years after that he moved to Jamaica where he died in 1819 and was buried in an unmarked grave.
Working in the neo-classic portrait style of Henry Raeburn and Gilbert Stuart, Field, according to a prominent historian, was one of the four most highly sought after American miniaturists of his time. His most famous works are two groups of miniatures of George Washington, commissioned by Martha Washington in 1800. These were intended as mementoes for friends and family, to commemorate Washington on the one-year anniversary of his death One group was of Washington in civilian dress, the other of him in full uniform, examples of which have sold in the $300,000 to $336,000 range. In addition to these he produced miniatures of Thomas Jefferson and a wide range of people prominent in the social, economic, and political life of American society.
Recognized as one of America's leading miniaturists, his works are highly sought after and rarely become available. Examples are in several major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery.