(First Half 19th Century)
"Pair of Portrait Miniatures of Aaron Burr (1756-1836) and His Wife Eliza Bowen Jumel (1775-1865)", ca. 1834-1840
each watercolor and gouache
Both matted and glazed in matching giltwood frames.
sights 3-3/4" x 2-3/4", framed 8-1/4" x 7-1/4"
Provenance: Estate of Dr. Carroll Ball, Jackson, Mississippi.
Notes: Aaron Burr, the former third Vice President of the United States and ornery politician, best known for shooting Alexander Hamilton, lived a long, vigorous life, marrying Eliza Jumel - the wealthy socialite - at the spry age of seventy-seven in July 1833. Jumel, the widow of the affluent French merchant Stephen Jumel, left Burr after four months of marriage due to his plunder and mismanagement of her fortune; not coincidentally, she chose Alexander Hamilton's son as her divorce attorney. In late 1833, probably to commemorate his marriage, Burr commissioned James van Dyck to paint his portrait, and possibly Jumel's also. Burr sat for van Dyck on six separate occasions. When the portrait was complete in January 1834, Burr had already split from Jumel and the portrait was not paid for, which prompted van Dyck to offer it to the public with the terse description on the back: "For Sale. Aaron Burr, painted in 1834, in six sittings by James van Dyck. If not satisfactory, return to 18 Centre St. Room No. 3". According to the New York Historical Society, where the van Dyck portrait of Burr is now conserved, multiple copies and prints of the portrait were made, especially after Burr's death in 1836. These two watercolor portraits, particularly the Burr, are believed to be period copies of probably one of the van Dyck studies and/or other extant portraits.