A Lady

John Henry Brown (American, 1818-1891)ca. 1890

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

Bust-length, three quarter profile portrait of a young lady with dark brown hair, wearing a blue dress with white lace collar and gold necklace.

This is signed J. H. Brown. It must be a late work if by this artist, as the fashion and hair style date from around 1890 and Brown died in 1891. Brown was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and studied painting with Arthur Armstrong, a fine-art, sign, and "fancy" painter. At the age of 21, Brown set up his own business in Lancaster and also taught himself miniature painting. He combined the look of new photographic processes with the colors and composition of oil painting, often basing his portraits on daguerreotypes and later ambrotypes. This miniature has the appearance of being after a photograph. Brown exhibited frequently at the Pennsylvania Academy until 1864 when he joined the photography practice of Frederick Augustus Wenderoth and W. Curtis Taylor, which became the firm of Wenderoth, Taylor, Brown. Brown tinted photographs in the era before color photography, a skill that was in demand in order to create accurate colored likenesses. However, Brown did not completely abandon miniature painting, as this was a practice still in demand among elite clients. In 1876 Brown received a medal for his miniatures at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.


  • Title: A Lady
  • Creator: John Henry Brown (American, 1818-1891)
  • Date Created: ca. 1890
  • External Link: For more information about this and thousands of other works of art in the Walters Art Museum collection, please visit art.thewalters.org
  • Roles: Artist: John Henry Brown (American, 1818-1891)
  • Provenance: Acquired by A. J. Fink, Baltimore; A. J. Fink Foundation Inc., Baltimore; given to Walters Art Museum, 1963.
  • Object Type: miniatures (paintings)
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory
  • Inscriptions: [Signed] Right: J.H. Brown
  • Dimensions: H excluding frame: 3 x W: 2 3/8 in. (7.62 x 6.03 cm); Framed H: 3 1/2 x W: 2 3/4 in. (8.89 x 6.99 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of the A. Jay Fink Foundation, Inc., Baltimore, in memory of Abraham Jay Fink, 1963
  • Classification: Miniatures
  • Accession Number: 38.498


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