James Peale (American, 1749–1831)
Watercolor on ivory
Sight: 2 7/8 x 2 5/16 in. (7.3 x 5.9 cm)
Maria DeWitt Jesup Fund, 1931 (31.118)
The youngest brother of Charles Willson Peale learned how to paint in oil and watercolor at his brother's side. For a time, they worked in such close collaboration that it is difficult to distinguish their separate hands. In 1786, they divided the business: James would paint miniatures and Charles the oil portraits, an arrangement that did not prohibit either artist from executing works in the other's medium. James's extraordinary skill as a miniaturist, however, kept him constantly employed. He painted Colonel Richard Thomas (17441832) in 1796, when this gentlemen of the distinguished West Chester, Pennsylvania, family was a state senator and a member of the fifth Congress.