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Sarah Jane (Abbott) Rembert

Bynum, Benjamin
Place Made:
Athens Georgia United States of America
Date Made:
watercolor on ivory
Frame: HOA 3-9/16″; WOA 2-9/16″
Unframed: HOA 2-11/16″; WOA 2-1/8″
Accession Number:
SITTER: Sarah Jane Abbott (1809-1839) was the daughter of Dr. Joel (1776-1826) and Sarah (Thomas) Abbott (1822), who lived in the town of Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia. Dr. Abbott was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut, but moved to Georgia and served in United States Congress from Georgia in the early 19th century. The Abbott house in Washington, where Sarah grew up, is now a house museum that primarily interprets the life of its second owner, Robert Toombs (1810-1885). Sarah Abbott married William Porter Rembert (1808-1877) of Elbert County, Georgia, on 26 March 1835. She died shortly after this miniature was painted, and the couple had no children.

ARTIST: Benjamin Bynum (circa 1811-before 1850) was the son of Turner (1777-1824) and Elizabeth (Miller) Bynum (1781-1851), who married in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1799 and moved to Columbia in 1810. In 1835 Benjamin is listed as a portrait painter in Greenville, South Carolina, and in 1836 he married Sarah O’Bannon of Barnwell. The following year he advertised in Milledgeville, Georgia: “Benjamin Bynum tenders his professional services to the citizens of Milledgeville and its vicinity. Having studied under one of the most celebrated artists of his country, together with 8 years experience, he hopes to share a portion of the patronage extended to Southern artists.” Bynum also worked in Athens, Georgia, where his sister Elizabeth (Bynum) Chase and her husband, Albon Chase, a prominent newspaper publisher and manufacturer, lived.

INSCRIPTION: Signed on the backing paper: B. Bynum Pinxt / Athens GA / June 6th / 1839.

DESCRIPTION: Watercolor on ivory, portrait miniature of Sarah Jane Abbott Rembert. Portrait features a woman with dark upswept hair, chin slightly turned (proper) left; she wears a brown scalloped comb in her hair, gold chandelier earrings, and a central brooch on her dress. Her painted face has undertones of peach and blue-green; overall her skin tone is very fair. Her shoulders are rounded and slop downwards; her off-white dress with lace trim and puffy sleeves sits lows across her shoulders; the dress has undertones of blue. The background is light at the top with shades of blue and gray filtering down behind the portrait. The miniature is set in the original rectangular frame with cast foliate border, the reverse with aperture containing a lock of brown hair, which has moved and no longer centered under glass.

Following Sarah (Abbott) Rembert’s death in 1839 the miniature was left to her sister Ann (Abbott) Billups of Athens, Georgia, and it descended in the Billups family.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund