Collections › MESDA Collection › Ann Lucetta Alexander

Ann Lucetta Alexander

Alexander, Isaac Brownfield
Place Made:
Camden South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
watercolor on ivory –leather –silk –wood –tin –glass
Miniature: HOA 4-1/4″; WOA 3-1/4″
Case: HOA 4-5/8″; WOA 3-11/16″
Accession Number:
SITTER: Ann Lucetta Alexander (1835-1915) was the daughter of artist Isaac Brownfield Alexander (1812-1884) and his wife Elizabeth Gilman Alexander (1815-1871). According to small peice of paper accompanying the portrait, portrait Ann was 5 at the time.

Tanglewood, Ann’s childhood home, still stands in Camden. It was built about 1831, about the time of her parent’s marriage. According to family tradition it was a gift from Elizabeth’s mother. Based on the location of windows in the portrait, Ann’s portrait was probably painted in the front right room of the house.

Ann married John T. Hershman (b.1835), the publisher of the Camden Journal newspaper.

ARTIST: Isaac Brownfield Alexander (1812-1884) was born in Camden, South Carolina. His father, Dr. Isaac V. Alexander, had been educated at Princeton. Isaac Brownfield Alexander and his brother Henry Dana Ward Alexander (1810-1865) were both educated at the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy in Norwich, Vermont. His earliest work is a miniature self-portrait on paper in which he surrounds himself with the ephemera of a classical education. (MESDA loan 5661)

In 1842 he advertised as an artist, jeweler, and silversmith in the Camden Journal. Two miniatures by him are in the Gibbes Museum of Art Collection in Charleston. Alexander embraced the newest technology of his day, becoming an early practitioner of photography. He opened early daguerreotype studios in Camden and Columbia, South Carolina, and in Charlotte, North Carolina. This new technology helped to eliminate the demand for portraits on ivory and democratized portraiture.

DESCRIPTION: Portrait miniature of a little girl wearing a white dress, pantaloons, and black shoes; resting a small book on the table, with writing on the left page and flowers on the right. She is standing by a rectangular top, pedestal table with heavy turned pedestal and three “s” shaped legs. The miniature features: a small wooden box with painted detail -resting on the table, a landscape painting above the table in a gold frame, green carpet, green shades with gold medallion tie-backs, taupe painted walls, cream window trim, and dark brown to gray beneath chair-rail. Miniature is covered with glass and mounted in an embossed tinplate frame; the entire piece is set inside a leather floral embossed case with gold detailing, and red silk lining; the case is fragile.

REFERENCES: Robert Leath, “Miniature Discoveries”, The Magazine Antiques, February 2010.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund