(First/Second Quarter 19th Century)
Four Portrait Miniatures
each watercolor and gouache
including "Melissa Phelps Dodge (1806-1903) of New York, New York", 1827, sitter's name inscribed en verso; "Gentleman in White Cravat"; "Lady in Black Dress with White Lace"; and "Gentleman in Black Cravat", reverse with plaited hair.
All four glazed in oval pendants, overall 3-1/4" x 2-3/4", 2-3/4" x 2-3/8", 3-1/2" x 2-1/2" and 2-3/4" x 2-1/8", respectively.
All four with original bi-fold case, 3-1/2" x 3" to 4" x 3".
All four together in a glass and wood presentation case, 12" x 18".
Provenance: Estate of Dr. Carroll Ball, Jackson, Mississippi.
Notes: Melissa Phelps Dodge was the daughter of New York entrepreneur Anson Greene Phelps (1781-1853) and wife of William Dodge, Sr. (1805-1883). Phelps and his two British sons-in-law William Dodge, Sr. and Daniel James (1801-1876) established a lucrative American mining corporation that began in 1834 as an import-export firm in tin, zinc, copper and lead roofing plates.
Dodge portrait - has some losses/smudges to the black pigment in the sitter's right sleeve and in the
bodice, and some light surface soiling throughout. Smudges are not readily visible without high-powered
white light. The reverse of the case has a loop notch cut into it; the brass oval frame (which does not
have a loop) is of a later period.
Gentleman in White Cravat - has an ~1/8" smudge/loss to green background.
Lady in Black Dress - no visible losses to pigment were detected, but there is some condensation (from
when the portrait was transported from Mississippi) that is trapped on the inside of the oval glass.
Pendant was placed in a bag of rice, but minor condensation remains and pendant cannot be opened
without a professional jeweler.
Gentleman in Black Cravat - has minor wear/rubbing around the top and lower right edges, which are likely
due to friction from the frame.
Gentleman in Black Cravat has a blue cloth case, the rest have leather cases.
The latter three have scattered nicks, fading and losses to leather. None of the four could be examined
out of their pendants. All four originally contained hair lockets en verso; the Dodge portrait is lacking its
hair and glass cover that contained it.