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2024 Summer Fine Art & Antiques (Day 1)

Sat, Jul 6, 2024 09:00AM EDT
Lot 126

Documented Robert Field Miniature Portrait of Henrietta Marie Hemsley Earle

Estimate: $2,400 - $2,800

Bid Increments

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$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Portrait miniature by Robert Field (1769 - 1819) depicting Henrietta Maria Hemsley Earle (1779 - 1821) of Maryland, signed lower left R. F. and dated 1799. Henrietta Earle was the wife of Thomas Chamberlain Earle and daughter of Sarah Williamson Helmsley and William Hemsley (a member of the Continental Congress and owner of Clover Fields Farm in Queenstown, MD). The bust length watercolor portrait depicts Mrs. Earle with curly powdered brown hair and blue eyes wearing a white dress and delicate embroidered white muslin fichu, against a blue sky and cloud background. Housed in likely the original rose gold metal case and retains the original red leather storage case. Sight: 2 7/8" H x 2 3/8" W. Note: This miniature is documented and on pages 149 and 150, Item LXVII in the book "Robert Field: Portrait Painter in Oils, Miniature and Water-Colours and Engraver" by Harry Piers and published by Frederic Fairchild Sherman, New York, 1927. See the scanned pages at the end of the photograph sequence. 

Biography: Robert Field was born in London and trained at the Royal Academy schools. In 1794 he settled briefly in Baltimore, then joined a grup of artists led by Charles Willson Peale in Washington, DC, in establishing the Columbianum, or American Academy of Fine Arts (although he later left it to help found a short-lived, rival organization). Field spent 14 years in the U.S.  as a leading painter of portrait miniatures in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Boston. Working in a conventional, neo-classical portrait style that has drawn comparisons with that of Henry Raeburn and Gilbert Stuart, Field produced images of George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and a number of other prominent citizens. In May, 1808 he left the U.S. to work in the bourgeoning market of Halifax, Canada, and in 1816 he moved to Jamaica. He died 3 years later, apparently of yellow fever.

PROVENANCE: Private Knoxville, TN collection, by descent through the family of the sitter.


Miniature overall very good condition, not examined out of the frame. Frame with minor oxidation. Leather case with scattered light wear and losses.

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Private Knoxville, TN collection, by descent through the family of the sitter.