England or Colonial America, portrait of Miriam Stansfield Draper (born 1625 West Yorkshire, England; died 1697 Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts), ca. 1650 CE. A striking oil on board 3/4 length portrait of Miriam Stansfield Draper as a young lady. She looks out toward the viewer with large blue eyes framed by arched brows, an aquiline nose, rosy cheeks upon an alabaster complexion, and heart-shaped lips. Her beautiful visage is crowned by a curly coiffure with ringlets framing her face and gracing her neck, sections pulled back via a pearl band which matches her pearl drop earring, the lovely strand of pearls around her neck, and the pearl and gem clusters adorning the sleeve of her garment - a white silky dress with a blue wrap over her shoulders. These luxurious fabrics and bejeweled ornaments reflective of the Rococo artistic taste for opulence during this period. Size: 15.25" L x 12.125" W (38.7 cm x 30.8 cm); 20.5" L x 17.5" W (52.1 cm x 44.4 cm) framed.
The portrait is set in a gilt period frame that possesses opulence rivaling Miriam Draper's high fashion. There is an old label on the verso with the following inscription handwritten in calligraphic script, "A Painting of Miriam, daughter of Gideon Stansfield of Wadsworth County York, married James Draper, son of Thomas Draper of Neptonstall Priory Halifax York". Above is a label for the framemaker that reads, "FERRARO Carver & Gilder / Glass and Picture Frame Maker To His Majesty / 5 Somer James Street Golden Square and 07 Quadrant Regent Street"; labels reading "Miriam, dau. Of Gideon Stansfield of Wadsworth / wife / James Draper"; and a Parisian makers stamp.
Miriam Stansfield Draper was an ancestor of the artist William Franklin Draper (American, 1912-2003). William Draper's career spanned seven decades and his subjects included a portrait of John F. Kennedy that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. based upon an oil sketch for which the president sat in 1962. Draper was actually the only artist who painted JFK from life. Draper showed at Knoedler, the Graham Gallery, Portraits, Inc., the Far Gallery, The Findlay Galleries (New York, NY) and the Robert C. Vose Galleries (Boston, MA). His work has been included in shows at the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), The National Academy of Design (New York, NY), The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, (Boston, MA) the Fogg Art Museum, (one of the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA), the National Gallery, (London), Salon de la Marine (Paris) and in museums in Australia. He also taught at the Art Students League of New York, and received a lifetime achievement award from the Portrait Society of America in 1999.
More on the artist's background: William Franklin Draper was born in Hopedale, Massachusetts on December 24, 1912. A child prodigy, he studied classical piano at Harvard University. He later changed his focus to fine art and studied with Charles Webster Hawthorne and Henry Hensche in Provincetown, Rhode Island. Draper also attended the National Academy of Design in New York and the Cape Cod School of Art in Massachusetts. Then he traveled to Spain and studied with Harry Zimmerman, moved on to France and attended the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere. In 1937, he moved to Boston to study sculpture with George Demetrius and also studied with Jon Corbino in beautiful Rockport, Massachusetts. In 1942, Draper joined the Navy and served as a combat artist when stationed on the Aleutian Islands and in the South Pacific. He observed and painted battle scenes on Bougainville, Guam, Saipan, and other locations, as well as genre scenes of soldiers who were not engaged in combat but rather at work and at play. National Geographic magazine reproduced 25 of his war images in four issues in 1944. In 1945, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. organized a group exhibition of works by five official war artists, including Draper. That same year the Metropolitan Museum of Art included Draper in an exhibition entitled, ''The War Against Japan.'' Draper was also featured in a PBS television show about combat artists entitled, "They Drew Fire" in May of 2000. After the war, Draper opened a studio on Park Avenue in New York City and continued to not only paint, but also play classical and jazz piano.
Provenance: The William F. Draper Collection, New York City, USA, acquired via descent from the late William Franklin Draper (1912-2003), an accomplished American artist whose career spanned seven decades. Known as the "Dean of American Portraiture," William Draper was the only artist to paint President John F. Kennedy from life, and his oeuvre includes marvelous landscapes from his world travels, military paintings as he was one of only seventeen Combat Artists in WWII, and portraits of illustrious individuals.
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This painting has not been examined outside the frame but appears to have some scuffs/losses in areas as well as nice passages of craquelure. Frame shows expected age wear with some fissures, losses, a few inactive insect holes on the verso, darkening to the wook on verso, and slight separation to the mitered corners.