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Jane P. Little

Lambdin, James Reid
Place Made:
Philadelphia Pennsylvania United States of America
Date Made:
Accession Number:
SITTER: Jane P. Little (1833-1857) was the daughter of wealthy cotton planter Thomas Little (1781-1855), of Carlisle Plantation, Richmond County, North Carolina. The plantation was named after his hometown, Carlisle, England. Jane was the niece of Anson County, North Carolina, cabinetmaker William Little. A significant number of letters between the Little brothers and their parents and family in England survive. There are also significant caches of family papers in the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at the Greensboro Historical Museum.

On examination MESDA discovered the following inscription on the back of the stretcher:

“From a Daguerreotype
by J.R. Lambdin
Phil 1859”

Following Jane’s death in 1857 her brother Benjamin Franklin Little probably used family business connections in Philadelphia to commission this posthumous portrait based on a daguerreotype. The daguerreotype is now in the collection of the Greensboro Historical Museum.

ARTIST: James Reid Lambdin (1807-1889) was a student of Thomas Sully and a prominent Philadelphia portraitist. Lambdin is best known for his portraits of American presidents: he painted portraits of every United States president from John Quincy Adams to James A. Garfield, as well as posthumous portraits of long-dead presidents like George Washington. In 1828 he established a museum in Pittsburgh that was based around his paintings. Four years later he moved his museum to Louisville, Kentucky. Eventually he returned to Philadelphia where he was the director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Find Arts and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

FRAME: The painting is in its original ornamented and gilded frame. A label on the reverse of the frame indicates that it was purchased from Philadelphia frame-maker James S. Earle & Son.

RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA is home to the largest institutional collection of cabinetwork by her uncle, William Little (1775-1848), including his woodworking planes.

Credit Line:
Anne P. Thomas A. Gray MESDA Purchase Fund