James Peale Miniature on Ivory
Appraised Value: $12,000 (1998)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:06)
Asian Arts, Paintings & Drawings
GUEST: She's Elizabeth Westcott, and she was the sister of my fourth great-grandfather.
GUEST: She and her best friend died of yellow fever when they were about 18 years old in Philadelphia in 1798. And the government in the 1790s was in Philadelphia, and they lived in a house that was next door to where George Washington was...
APPRAISER: Oh, when he was there before he...very interesting. It's a beautiful miniature, as you can see, of a young lady in a costume of the late 1790s. And what's particularly nice is when we turn it over, the memorial on the back, very beautifully detailed. Usually we see this in mourning jewelry, not necessarily on the back of the miniature. It's beautifully done. It's got this hair woven around the outside, which is undoubtedly her hair. The date of 1798 is actually written on it. There's a little saying over here that "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away." And we have her initials, "E.W.," here, and then the initials of her friend on the other side. And her name was?
GUEST: Lucy Breck.
APPRAISER: And notice how beautifully painted it is. This is of the very highest of quality of the late 18th century. The prominent family in Philadelphia in the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th were the family of Charles Willson Peale and his sons and his brother James. There was Rembrandt Peale, Raphael Peale. They painted Philadelphia society, and they were simply the finest family of painters in America. And the two senior members of the family were Charles Willson Peale and James Peale, his brother. This miniature that you have is by James Peale.
GUEST: Oh, that's nice.
APPRAISER: And a miniature of this quality of a known sitter with this beautiful memorial on the back should have a value of perhaps $12,000 in today's market.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness!
APPRAISER: It's really the best of the American miniatures of this period.
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