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Celebrity's Picture: Using Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Portraits to Observe Historic Changes

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow miniature, ca. 1840

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow miniature, ca. 1840 / Maine Historical Society

It is reasonable to speculate that Ann Hall painted her 1845 miniature of Longfellow while looking at a Franquinet print, not the poet.

The awkward image implies an overextension of her tendency to idealize: working from a print and not a live subject, she rendered the middle-age poet as a pudgy boy.

Hall was nonetheless an important New England miniaturist, born in Pomfret, Connecticut, trained in Newport and New York City.

Her little ivory in conjunction with the extensive series of Franquinet-based prints indicate two cultural phenomena. One, Longfellow's popularity grew quickly, and, two, print technology nursed a new demand for celebrity pictures.


Item 11 of 35