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Miniature Portrait of Katherine Brooke Powell (Mrs. Burr Powell)(1770-1851)

ca. 1805
Origin: America, Virginia, Loudon County
Sight: 3 1/8 x 3 1/8in. (7.9 x 7.9cm) and Framed (excluding wire hanging ring at top): 4 3/4 x 4 3/4in.
Reverse gilding and black paint on glass
Gift of Eric D. and Hollace S. W. Swanson
Acc. No. 1999.500.2,A&B
A bust-length profile portrait of a woman facing left, executed in verre-églomisé. Shading is done by cross-hatching through the gilding. The subject wears a tall bonnet bound with a dark ribbon tied in a bow on top and a low-necked dress with a light lace collar filling the neckline.

The 1/2-inch black-painted, scoop molded wood frame with a wire hanging ring at the top is original.
Label:Charles Peale Polk's fame is based almost entirely on his oil-on-canvas portraits, while his verre-églomisé work is scarcely known. To execute the difficult latter technique, gold leaf was applied to the back of the glass, the subject's outline was engraved through it, and excess gold leaf was scraped away. Interior details were added by hatching and cross-hatching. Finally, the reverse of the glass was painted black to throw the design into relief.

Katherine Brooke was the daughter of Col. Humphrey Brooke of Fauquier County, Virginia. She married Burr Powell (1768-1838) in 1792, and the couple lived at "Chestnut Hill," built for them in 1803 just south of Middleburg, Virginia.
Provenance:Acquired by the Swansons from an unidentified dealer at an unidentified antiques show in New York City "about ten years ago," i.e., about 1989.
Mark(s):A press-printed dealer label glued to dust cover on the reverse reades: "T. W. NORMAN & CO./Art Dealers,/Pictures and Frames/44 Bromfield & 114 Eliot Sts./Factory 47 Field St./BOSTON".
Inscription(s):On the dust cover, written in upright script, is: "Katherine Brooke/Born [blank]/Died [blank]/Wife of Burr Powell/Great grandmother of/Katherine Brooke Conrad [Namblin?]/Jan. 23, 1911."