Miniature portrait of Alexander Young
ARTIST: Isaac Brownfield Alexander (1812-1884) was born in Camden, South Carolina. His father, Dr. Isaac V. Alexander, had been educated at Princeton. Isaac Brownfield Alexander and his brother Henry Dana Ward Alexander (1810-1865) were both educated at the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy in Norwich, Vermont. In a miniature self-portrait on paper (MESDA Acc. 5661), the artist surrounds himself with the ephemera of a classical education.
In 1842 Alexander advertised as an artist, jeweler, and silversmith in the Camden Journal. Alexander embraced the newest technology of his day, becoming an early practitioner of photography. He opened early daguerreotype studios in Camden and Columbia, South Carolina, and in Charlotte, North Carolina. This new technology helped to eliminate the demand for portraits on ivory and democratized portraiture.
DESCRIPTION: Miniature portrait of a man with dark hair and blue eyes; he is wearing a white shirt, black cravat, black vest, and a black coat; he appears to be seated on an upholstered chair; in original hinged brown leather case.
This miniature portait was published in the first edition of E. Milby Burton’s “South Carolina
Silversmiths, 1690–1860” (Charleston, SC: Charleston Museum, 1942).