Scot, A - portrait of a minister and his wife

Unfortunately the two sitters in this pair of miniature portraits are unidentified, so little can be said about them. The man is obviously a minister and by the quality of the miniatures and of the clothes his wife is wearing they were well-to-do.

They do indicate that one needs to be cautious about seller's descriptions, as they were described by the vendor as American. However, they were in oval red leather cases, which is rare for American miniatures.

Nevertheless, there does now seem to be an American connection, as has become apparent further below.

They are both clearly signed, one as "A Scot" and one as "Scot". The lady is slightly larger (80mmx 63mm) compared to the man (75mm x 60mm) and there are minor differences in the lettering of the signatures which leads one to believe they were painted at different dates.

Blattel's Dictionary does mention an artist named Scot, who is described as German and having exhibited at the Berlin Academy in 1804.

Foskett mentions no artist named Scot, but does record an artist named A Scott of London who exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1807-1808 from 29 Mortimer Street, Cavendish Square. I am of the opinion that both Blattel and Foskett probably refer to the same person. It is also possible that a Miss Scott who exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1802-1804 from 2 Lambeth Road was the same person.

Judging by the lady's clothing and hairstyle they date from around 1820-1825 and so either the artist was active for a number of years, or it is a different A Scot. The artist was obviously very talented and so it is a little surprising they are not better known, especially as these two miniatures are both clearly signed.

It has not been possible to reconcile these records using the information available to me here, but it is hoped that a London portrait expert may be willing to contact me to try and explain the apparent conflict, and perhaps cast more light on the artist who painted them. 1415, 1416

Later; A very kind visitor has pointed out a reference in Nathalie Lemoine-Bouchard's dictionary which I had not noticed. An approximate translation of the reference from the French seems to be;

Scot - (active between 1797 and 1801) - 
An artist recorded as a student of J.B.J. Augustin, who foot-noted in his notebook in 1797: "Mr. Scot, Anglo-American commenced ......."; and then in 1801: "Mr. Scot of Rue Poissoniere, near to Rue Beauregard, No 175, commenced on 7 July [year X]".

The reference to year X, being year 10 in the Revolutionary calendar, otherwise 1801.

Jean-Baptiste-Jacques Augustin (1759-1832) was one the finest French miniature painters. His style changed over the years, but his influence on Scot can perhaps be seen in the pose of the above Scot portrait of a minister, which seems to be similar in pose to Augustin's "Portrait of a man" of c1790, illustrated as example "c" in Lemoine-Bouchard, and which Boris Wilnitsky offered for sale in 2007.

It would therefore appear from this entry that Scot was an American who had come to learn miniature painting, who then worked in Germany and England, there seeming to be no reference to him returning to America.

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