This unsigned miniature is in a mother-of-pearl case (shown below in reduced size), which is catalogued as by Paul Berg as Very Rare. His reference book advises that less than 60 examples of this case are known. Most of these examples were used for daguerreotypes and thus its use for a miniature is most unusual.
Since this description was first written, the attribution of this miniature has now been changed to Alvan Clark.
The miniature was initially attributed to Moses B Russell, as he was painting in Boston at this time. It is similar to his later style and he is noted for his use of pearl gray with subtle hues of pink.
Visitors familiar with Johnson's book on the Manney Collection should note that a well respected authority on American miniatures has advised that fig 209 and fig 210 in Johnson are in fact by Mrs M B Russell.
The main reason for the change in attribution is that since the description of this miniature was first written, two signed miniatures by Moses B Russell have been acquired. They are felt to be different in style to this portrait. Additionally, the companion miniature to this portrait has been attributed to Alvan Clark, see Clark, Alvan - portrait of a man
Although the sitter is unknown, her husband was originally offered at the same auction, but at that time went to a different buyer. He was framed in a plain leather case, but which had a frame maker's label "Made at Smith's/No 2 Milk St./Opposite Old South/Boston." This was a label common to cases containing other works by Clark. However, an opportunity arose to acquire him several months later and thus he has been reunited with this portrait. 1190