Engle James Richardson

American, English, or Continental Schoolcirca 1798

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati, United States

Engle James Richardson was a Dutch expatriate who lived on St. Maarten, part of a group of islands known as the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean. These islands became a microcosm of European conflicts when Richardson played a key role in the 1793 capture of the French Fort St. Louis. Later in 1816, he was appointed to accept the surrender of the British island Saba to the Dutch. Despite his adventures, Richardson appears to have been devoted to his family. He married Mary Gumb and three of their children reached adulthood.

Blonde curls of hair form a heart using two brunette Prince of Wales feathers. Within the heart is a cobalt glass oval decorated with the initials E J R in seed pearls. Blue signifies sincerity and the pearls purity. An arrow points upward into the heart. Emblematic of Cupid, this heart has been pierced to show the two people represented, likely Engle and Mary, are a true love match. Surmounted above the hair is a fancy golden knot, another example of unending love.


  • Title: Engle James Richardson
  • Creator: American, English, or Continental School
  • Date Created: circa 1798
  • Physical Dimensions: 2 5/8 x 2 1/16 in. (6.7 x 5.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Fleischmann III
  • Accession Number: 2004.552
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory (recto), hair, seed pearls, glass, and gold on opalescent glass (verso)

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