SITTER: John Jameson, Sr., (1751-1810) of Culpeper County, Virginia attended William and Mary College. He was appointed Clerk of the Culpeper Court in 1772, a position he held for 38 years. He inherited one-half of the vast estate of his uncle, Lieutenant Governor David Jameson (1723-1793) of Yorktown. He was a colonel formerly of George Washington’s staff, and he founded the Culpeper Minute Men. He was also the person responsible for capturing the British spy, Major John Andre (1750-1780) during the Revolutionary War. He fought in the Battle of Great Bridge, in modern day Chesapeake, then Norfolk County, on December 9, 1775. He and his brother, David, were with 300 men who defeated Lord Dunmore’s troops, and this victory was followed by the Battle of Norfolk, January 1, 1776. On June 16, 1776, he took command as Captain of the Virginia Dragoons, and he was promoted several times. By 1780, he was stationed in New York. In the autumn of 1780, American morale was very low, and Major John Andre or “John Anderson” was sent to Colonel Jameson’s headquarters to be questioned. General Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) had instructed Jameson to pass Anderson on to his headquarters, but Jameson was puzzled by the documents found on Anderson. He sent the documents to General Washington, believing that [the papers] were “of a very dangerous tendency.” He wrote: “I thought it more proper your Excellency should see them” rather than Benedict Arnold. When Jameson reported to Arnold that “Anderson” was captured, Arnold “hurriedly left his [breakfast] table…ordering eight American soldiers to row him down the Hudson to the British Sloop Vulture.” He was taken aboard with honors, and a few weeks later he became a brigadier general in the British Army. Jameson was a member of the Masonic Lodge over which George Washington presided, and he became a founding member of the Culpeper Lodge.
ARTIST: Francis Cezeron was an itinerant portrait artist as well as a teacher of dancing and French. Born in Virginia in 1747, the MESDA Craftsman Database has documented his advertisements in Frederick, Maryland, Fredericksburg, Virginia, and Hagerstown, Maryland. He also worked in western Pennsylvania. He died in 1828 in Kentucky. Cezeron followed a standard formula for most of his portraits, depicting sitters in half-length profile in an oval frame.
RELATED WORKS: MESDA also owns a set of three pastel portraits by the artist William Joseph Williams depicting Jameson, his wife Elizabeth Davenport, and his father-in-law Birkett Davenport (MESDA Acc. # 2961.1-3). MESDA also own an additional work by Cezeron, a portrait of Mary Washington (Snickers) Hunter (acc. 2024.125).