ARTIST: David Boudon was born (1748-1816?) was born in Geneva Switzerland. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to the Genevan copperplate engraver Jean-Daniel Dupre. By 1780 he was also working in metalpoint, a technique where a thin rod of metal is drawn across a surface to leave a line. There is some evidence to suggest that Boudon moved from Geneva to Italy sometime after 1786. In 1794 he emigrated to America, working first in Charleston and Savannah. His peripatetic career carried him to New York, Philadelphia, Alexandria, Virginia, Raleigh and Fayetteville, North Carolina, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Frederick Maryland. His last known location is Chillicothe, Ohio.
Boudon is known primarily as a miniaturist. The majority of his surviving works—50 to 60 in total—are silverpoint on vellum, although he did occasionally work in watercolor on ivory. His style, with its thin color wash over a linear image, reflects his early training as an engraver. According to his own advertisements, he considered himself more as a draftsman or “limner” rather than a painter.
RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA also owns the companion portrait of his wife by Boudon (acc. 4202.1). The MESDA collection also contains a Boudon portrait of Ann (Bolton) Moore (acc. 4145).
REFERENCES: Nancy E. Richards, “A Most Perfect Resemblance at Moderate Prices: The Miniatures of David Boudon”, Winterthur Portfolio vol. 9, (1974) 77-102.
DESCRIPTION: Miniature portrait of man in profile; man has dark hair with receding hairline; he is wearing a light-colored shirt, neckerchief, and vest and dark coat. Miniature is in frame with gold finish; original hanger is missing and has been replaced; glass appears to have eglomise decoration of black with oval opening in center; thin band of gold surrounds subject (black paper also glued to inside of glass).