Jones, William Foster - portrait of lady with the initials "M B O"
This miniature is signed on the reverse "Painted by W F Jones 1844".
This is the signature of William Foster Jones (4 May 1817-9 Dec 1873) who was born and worked in Philadelphia.
He was the son of David Powell Jones (28 Nov 1775-13 Aug 1859) and Rebecca Burr Foster (1772-21 Jun 1846) who were married on 13 Sep 1797 in Philadelphia. William was the youngest of six children.
William's father, David Powell Jones seems to have been a successful hatter, as in the 1850 census for Philadelphia he is shown as the head of a large household, accompanied by his eldest unmarried daughter Laetitia Jones (1798-9 Feb 1871) and some grandchildren, including one named Rebecca Jones.
Perhaps David Powell Jones was also a landlord, as the household comprises thirteen persons, including a book binder, a jeweller, a hatter, a shoemaker, and a copper plate engraver. After David Powell Foster's death in 1859 Laetitia (aka Latissa Jones) went to live with Rebecca Jones when Rebecca married a physician named William Crouse.
Around 1840 William Foster Jones married Mary Dougherty (or Abby Dougherty) (4 Sep 1819-9 Nov 1889) and by 1850 they had two children, Mary Foster Jones (1841-?) and Thomas William Jones (1845-?).
In the 1850 census he described himself as "Artist" and lived in Philadelphia, along with Abby, their children, his mother-in-law Susan Dougherty (1779-?) and one servant.
He must have been quite successful, as in the 1860 census he is recorded with assets of $23,500 under "W F Jones", although the assets may have been inherited as his father died in 1859. Still as an artist married to Abbie (sic) with a third child W(illiam?) F(oster?) Jones (1852-?) and one servant.
The 1870 census enumerator was lazy and so there is no detail recorded about the family, but "Wm F Jones" was still living in Philadelphia with Abby Jones, their three children and one servant.
In addition to miniatures, William Foster Jones was a landscape, history, genre, and portrait artist.
A native of Philadelphia, Jones exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy from 1836-1869.
The sitter is unknown, but the initials "M B O" are engraved on the reverse.
Perhaps at some stage it may be possible to do a search at www.ancestry.com using only initials to identify the sitter. 460
Posted by Don Shelton at 5:15 PM