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A Woman (recto), Memorial to John Birch (verso)

English Schoolcirca 1804

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum

The highly decorated urn and pedestal with its dedication to John Birch stands out from the hairwork that surrounds it. A thick lock of hair forms the gently undulating trunk of a weeping willow whose “branches” spread out over the urn. Three sections of hair in graduating lengths create a stylized ground with individual blades of grass painted in watercolor. Underneath the background opalescent glass is a layer of textured foil that creates a shimmering effect when viewed in direct light. John Birch’s family commissioned multiple copies of this memorial—at least one other has been located in a German private collection.

Instead of a portrait of John Birch, the front of the miniature features a young woman. Her connection to John Birch in unknown. It is possible that the woman’s portrait was added at a later date.

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Details

  • Title: A Woman (recto), Memorial to John Birch (verso)
  • Creator: English School
  • Date Created: circa 1804
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: 1 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (4.8 x 3.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann III
  • Accession Number: 2004.554
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory (recto), hair, wire, seed pearls, and watercolor on glass (verso)

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