Because very young children of both gender wore the same clothing, we often cannot tell the gender of the child sitter. However, once girls reached the age of 12 to 14, they wore dresses that looked like miniature adult dresses. The young girl in this portrait has obviously reached the age of wearing adult-style clothes even though she has short hair and holds onto her doll. Her dress is circa 1820, with off-the-shoulder neckline, puffed and stuffed gigot or leg o’mutton sleeves and a gathered bodice with a self-fabric belt at her natural waistline. Her doll wears a very similar dress, but with a v-neck and an apron covering the skirt. The young girl also wears a long, doubled strand of coral with a pendant. Coral beads were often worn by children to ward off evil spirits—or as we would call it today, for good luck. This portrait mini is painted on natural wafer which measures 2 5/8" x 2" and is housed in a chased metal pendant. The pendant measures 3 1/4" tall including the loop. Without loop frame is 3" tall x 2 3/8" wide. The reverse of the pendant houses a strand of hair. Condition: Minor spots of soiling at edges of the portrait (very minor). The pendant case has lost it’s original gilding which allows the copper core of the reverse to show and the reverse also shows smudging and grime on the metal. It would certainly pop with a cleaning. The pendant can be regilded, but I’d leave it as is. Circa 1820.
Ex-Collection of Carolyn and Tom Porter