An Officer

E. Thomson (1771–1848)circa 1800

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati, United States

This small pendant-style miniature of a young officer in his brilliant red coat must have been a treasured portrait that served as a reminder of the man while he was away. The reverse scene of a country church is an unusual choice. Finely chopped dark hair has been mixed into the watercolors used to denote the landscape. While sepia-toned paint mixed with hair was common, it was used more often for memorials mourning a death. Using the sitter’s hair to paint a church must have had a deep personal meaning, or perhaps a connection to the place, which has been lost.

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  • Title: An Officer
  • Creator: E. Thomson (1771–1848)
  • Date Created: circa 1800
  • Location: United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 1 5/8 x 1 3/8 in. (4.1 x 3.5 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann in memory of Julius Fleischmann
  • Accession Number: 1991.377
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory (recto), watercolor on ivory with chopped hair (verso)