Description Waist-length, almost full-view portrait of a young woman with black, straight hair parted in the center. She wears a white shirt with high collar and blue brooch at her throat, with a blue velvet scarf draped over her right arm. The back of a dark red velvet chair is visible at right shoulder. Harriet Aymar may have been born Harriet Attwood Downe, who married John Daniel Aymar in 1849, the year this miniature was painted, and appears to have been born in 1831 in Stafford, New Hampshire (making her 18 year old at the time this miniature was painted). However, at the time of writing there is no conlusive proof that this is the same Harriet Aymar as is portrayed here. John Daniel Aymar lived in New York, where the artist also practiced, perhaps giving further circumstantial evidence to the identification of the sitter as his wife, Harriet. Harriet was an only child, so it is possible that the miniature was made for her parents. Henry Colton Shumway began studying at the Academy of Design in New York City at the age of twenty-one. By 1831, he had established himself as a reputable painter, exhibiting his work and taking commissions from prominent figures such as Governor John Trumbull, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay. During Shumway's early years as an artist, his paintings sold for ten dollars, a small fee compared to the three hundred dollars he charged during the height of his career. With the increasing popularity of photography in the 1860s, Shumway, like many artists of the time, abandoned miniature painting to produce hand-colored daguerreotypes.
- Four Centuries of Miniature Painting from the Collections of the A. Jay Fink Foundation, Inc. and A.J. Fink, Personally. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1958-1959.
Provenance A.J. Fink, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; A.J. Fink Foundation, Inc. [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1963, by gift.
Inscriptions [Signed and dated] On reverse
Credit Gift of the A. Jay Fink Foundation, Inc., Baltimore, in memory of Abraham Jay Fink, 1963
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