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 James Sanford Ellsworth  (1802 - 1874)

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Lived/Active: Connecticut      Known for: miniature watercolor profile portrait

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Ad Code: 3
James Sandford Ellsworth
from Auction House Records.
Marcia Treat in blue ruffled dress reading a book
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Silhouettist, portrait, and miniature painter, James Sanford Ellsworth was born in Windsor, Connecticut in 1802.  Depicting Massachusetts and Connecticut farmers and their families, the artist painted miniature watercolor portraits on paper, and all but seven of them are profiles.  Only two of the full-face miniatures show the entire figure.  Many of his sitters are sitting on chairs resembling doll furniture, and often his faces are framed by scalloped clouds, which gives them the appearance of floating in air.  He painted images of at least sixty-four children.  His signature appears with thirteen variations.  Sometimes he used initials, and occasionally he wrote the word "Painter" after his signature.

It is also thought that Ellsworth was self-taught and that he traveled and worked in Louisville, Kentucky and St. Louis, Missouri as well as New England.  He made a trip from Connecticut to Ohio and back through Pennsylvania and New York in 1861.

His work has been confused with the artist, Josiah Brown King's.

In addition to 263 documented watercolor portraits, eight conventional size portraits by Ellsworth in oil have been found but according to art historian Lucy Mitchell, they "do not possess the distinctive characteristics of his miniatures".

Groce & Wallace, The New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America
Lucy B. Mitchell, American Folk Painters of Three Centuries, Edited by Jean Lipman and Tom Armstrong

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