ARTIST: The Payne Limner is an unidentified artist who worked in Richmond and the surrounding counties of Henrico, Hanover, and Goochland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. With the addition of the five Seabrook family portraits, approximately 18 of his works are now known. His identity derives from the ten surviving portraits of the Payne family, which were completed in Goochland County around 1791. None of these works bears a signature or date, and the attributions are based on the strong stylistic similarities among the various portraits. Many of them display a knowledge of 18th-century British conventions with the inclusion of personal attirbutes for each sitter, such as animals, flowers for girls, and hunting equipment for boys. Ship captain Nicholas Brown Seabrook was painted holding a telescope and pointing to a chart with a ship in the background, while planter Archer Payne was depicted standing beside a plow with a large sheaf of wheat immediately behind him. His triple portrait of two Payne brothers with their nurse is one of the few 18th-century American portraits with the full length image of an enslaved African American person. The Payne Limner’s portraits provide an excellent window into the life and society of late 18th-century Virginia.
Examples of the Payne Limner’s works can be seen in the collections of Colonial Williamsburg, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Virginia Museum of Culture and History, the James Madison Museum, and MESDA.
DESCRIPTION: Painting, oil on canvas, full-length portrait of a young girl of approximately three years of age wearing a white gown with a lace collar, a red sash tied around her waist, a single-strand pearl necklace, holding a bouquet of flowers in her left hand while her right hand pets a small bird.