(1769 - 1849)

Pendant Portrait of a Man

Pastel on paper 8 3/4 x 7 3/4 inches (sight)
This item is part of a pair.

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was common for couples to have pendant portraits of themselves painted in oil, often shortly after their marriage or some other significant event. A less expensive alternative was to commission smaller pastel portraits such as this pair of an unknown man and woman. These portraits were formerly attributed to the British-born pastel portraitist James Sharples (c. 1750-1811), who along with his son James Sharples, Jr. (c. 1788-1839) specialized in the genre.

About the Artist

(1769 - 1849)

Ellen Sharples was a painter who specialised in portraits and miniatures. After having been a student of painter James Sharples and subsequently marrying him in 1787, the couple emigrated to the United States. Living in Washington DC, the Sharples established a successful portraiture practice, with James painting the portraits of American leaders and Ellen copying them on commission. Ellen Sharples also produced original portraits in pastel and watercolour and miniatures on ivory.