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Miniature portrait of James Gignilliat (1746-1794)

ca. 1775
Origin: America, South Carolina, Charleston
Overall (encased but excluding chain loop at top): 1 1/4 x 1in. (3.2 x 2.5cm)
Watercolor on ivory
Gift of John L. and William W. Gignilliat
Acc. No. 1991-1184
A miniature portrait, head and shoulders, of a man in a taupe-colored coat and waistcoat with a white shirt and stock, turned one quarter towards the viewer's right. His hair is very dark brown (or black) and curled over the ears. The background is a light grayish tan, darker at the bottom. The portrait is enclosed in a simple gold case with chain loop at the top.
This miniature portrait of James Gignilliat was probably created about the same time as the life-sized portraits of James and his wife, Charlotte Pepper Gignilliat, also by Benbridge and also exhibited in this gallery. Although it is unknown today, a miniature version of Mrs. Gignilliat’s portrait may also have been painted.
Provenance:It is believed that the miniature shares an early line of Gignilliat family descent with acc. nos. 1973-216 and 1973-217, i.e., from the subject to his eldest son, James, Jr. (1767-?) (see n. 1); to James, Jr.'s nephew and niece-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Norman Page Gignilliat, i.e., Norman Page Gignilliat (1809-1871), and his wife, Charlotte Gignilliat Trezevant Gignilliat (1819-1910) of Darien and Marietta, Ga. See n. 2.
N. B. A file statement that the miniature "descended in [the] Gignilliat family with" acc. nos. 1973-216 and 1973-217 cannot be totally accurate, since CWF's sources differ.
Based on a note from CWF's donor John L. Gignilliat dated 11 July 1991, the supposition is that 1991-1185 descended with the large-scale oils down through ownership by Mr. and Mrs. Norman Page Gignilliat as above; thence to [their son?] George Warren Gignilliat, Sr.; thence to his son, George Warren Gignilliat, Jr.; thence to [his two sons?], John L. Gignilliat and William W. Gignilliat, who were brothers and CWF's co-donors.