Lewis, William - portrait of Mary Winthrop
Although this miniature is unsigned, it has been attributed to William Lewis (1788-c1838) who is recorded as having been painting in Rhode Island in the early 1820's when this miniature was painted and where the sitter seems to have been living. Johnson comments "Lewis produced miniatures executed in a naive, slightly stilted style. Heads are placed high on the ivory.... they smile faintly .... backgrounds are of a neutral shade .... costumes are meticulously depicted".
Inside the case there is one note which says "when taken - 64 years old" and also a second note which reads "Miniature of Mrs Richard Parkin, daughter of John Still Winthrop. She was my father's mother, John Still Winthrop Parkin".
Some research has revealed that Mary Winthrop (31 Jan 1758 - 30 Aug 1848) married Richard W Parkin on 9 Jul 1786. Mary Winthrop was born in New London, Ct. and died in Newport RI. As she was 64 when the miniature was painted, it must have been painted in 1822, but then later reframed, as the blue velvet case is somewhat later in origin.
Research also shows that her son, Dr John Still Winthrop Parkin (25 Mar 1792-2 Nov 1866) was born in New London. He married Sarah E Thurman in 1834 and they had several children. Thus it is not possible to determine which child wrote the inscription. As an example, one child was Henry Hitchcock Parkin (1837-1922). Prior to the Civil War, Henry lived in New York with his parents and siblings, where in the 1860 census his father described himself as a "Gentleman" with assets of $46,000, but the 1860 census does not show Henry's occupation. During the Civil War, Henry was enlisted in the 71st New York Infantry Regiment as a Sergeant. By the 1880 census Henry was living in Kings, NY married to Cora, had two daughters, Rollie 12, and Ethel 3. He described his occupation as 'broker in paints". 326
Posted by Don Shelton at 6:46 PM