Peale’s Washington miniature dominates for Brunk


ASHEVILLE, NC – A rare and important “H. Patterson Harris” miniature portrait of General George Washington, completed by Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741-1827) after his 1779 seance and public commission to honor the ” heroes of the Philadelphia campaigns” was Brunk Auctions’ top lot in the March 25-26 sales, fetching $442,800 and sold to a private collector in the United States, bidding by telephone, who was underbid by an American institution, also bidding by telephone. It is the only known miniature of this type that has ever been offered at public auction.

Painted in watercolor on ivory, in what was presumed to be its original 18-karat gold case, the miniature was accompanied by a vintage leather case lined with silk, a circular 18-karat gold medallion containing a lock of hair believed to be Washington’s, a brass inlaid mahogany studio desk and its assorted contents, and a locket that reads “CH Peale / to / Coleman Sellers.”

The miniature portrait was published in Charles Coleman Sellers’ Portraits and Miniatures of Charles Willson Peale. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society and was descended in the family of H. Patterson Harris of Westport, Connecticut.

Prices quoted include buyer’s premium; a more detailed summary of sales will appear in an upcoming issue.


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