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Benjamin West of Salem, Massachusetts

American Schoolcirca 1798

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum

Not to be confused with the well-known painter of the same name, the subject of this miniature is Benjamin West (1739–1809), who lived in Salem, Massachusetts. On 9 August 1762 he married Abigail Phippen (b. 1743). West was around sixty years old when he sat for this likeness. It is housed in an expensive case with a reverse window ornamented with a band of reverse-painting and gilding that showcases two colors of hair woven together. Shot through with gray, the hair is a tender reminder of a long, loving relationship presumably between Benjamin and Abigail. This miniature was a treasured keepsake for the West family and it remained in their possession for more than a century.

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  • Title: Benjamin West of Salem, Massachusetts
  • Creator: American School
  • Date Created: circa 1798
  • Location: United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 2 3/8 x 2 in. (6 x 5.1 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann in memory of Julius Fleischmann
  • Accession Number: 1990.1378
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory (recto), plaited hair, gilded and reverse-painted glass, and cobalt glass (verso)


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