SITTER: The sitter is a member of the Ellerbe family of Chesterfield County, South Carolina, and probably Dr. William Crawford Ellerbe (1800-1835) who graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in 1822. Three years later, Ellerbe and his father, Colonel William Ellerbe (1765-1830), hosted the Marquis de Lafayette in Cheraw, South Carolina, during the Marquis’s southern grand tour. Today, Ellerbe’s elegantly neoclassical, two-story frame house in Cheraw is known as the Lafayette House. In 1826, Ellerbe married Ephatha Moore Sanders (1807-1882), the daughter of a wealthy Sumter County cotton planter who had been educated at Salem Academy and a boarding school in Charleston. They had four children before Ellerbe’s death in 1835, when Ephatha and her children moved to Midfield Plantation in Kershaw County.
ARTIST: Though unsigned, according to miniature specialist Elle Shushan, this portrait was painted by an as-yet unidentified artist who was active in New York and Connecticut in the early 19th century.
DESCRIPTION: Watercolor miniature portrait of man with brown, high tufted hair and grey eyes. He wears a high collar and ruffled stock. His coat is dark grey. This is a bust portrait in a gold frame with gadrooned or a spiral border, surmounted by ring for chain or hook.
RELATED OBJECTS: The portrait miniature descended in the Ellerbe family along with a desk and bookcase made by William Little (MESDA acc. 3264) and a work table attributed to William D. Parker of Camden (MESDA acc. 3077).