|This miniature (#127) of
Thomas may be the portrait for which he recorded sitting on November
and 27, 1805.(4) A receipt for a deposit paid to the Boston
William M. S. Doyle is preserved in Thomas's business papers and
'Boston, Nov. 10, 1805/Rec'd of Isaiah Thomas, the sum of
in part payment for miniatures amounting to Fifty Dollars, Wm. M. S.
An 1805 advertisement placed by the artist in the New England
stated that he charged between twelve and twenty dollars for painted
so a fee of fifty dollars charged to Thomas indicates that multiple
were produced.(6) It is unclear from the receipt if Doyle painted
members of the Thomas family at this time, or if he painted several
of Thomas's own portrait.
Doyle began working as a miniature painter and silhouette cutter
around 1803. He set up his studio in the Columbian Museum,
Daniel Bowen (c. 1760-1856). In 1806 Doyle joined Bowen as a
of the museum, which included paintings of prominent Americans,
and natural history specimens.(7) While operating the museum,
to produce dozens of pastel portraits, silhouettes, and watercolor
of Boston area residents.(8) This portrait of Isaiah Thomas is one
his earlier attempts.
The American Antiquarian Society also owns a nineteenth-century
of this miniature. Its earliest ownership is unknown, but as
granddaughters Clara Elizabeth and Mary Thomas Randall once owned
miniature, a family member may have commissioned the copy after
death. The signature, partially obscured by the domed case in
miniature is mounted, suggests the likeness may have been made by
Scottish artist Daniel Lamont (fl. 1837-50), an itinerant
working in New England in the late 1830s.(9) In the 1840s he
two miniatures at the Pennsylvania Academy of Art in Philadelphia
after 1846, he lived in New York City.(10)
1) Charles L. Nichols, Portraits of Isaiah Thomas
(Worcester: American Antiquarian
Society, 1921), 13-14, no. 10.
2) Charles L. Nichols, Portraits of Isaiah Thomas,
Antiquarian Society, 1921), 13; and Clarence S. Brigham, 'Notes on
Thomas Family Portraits,' Proceedings of the American Antiquarian
56 (April 1946): 50-51. Former owner William Sloane had the
mounted in a new case.
3) Nichols, Portraits of Isaiah Thomas, 13. The author
that this portrait was the image engraved by William R. Jones in
1811 Freemason's Magazine. That engraving was based on the Thomas
signed by Doyle (cat. #127).
4) Isaiah Thomas Diary, November 25, 1805, Isaiah Thomas
American Antiquarian Society. Thomas noted: "Sat for
In the next entry, for November 27, Thomas used a ditto mark
that he sat again for the artist.
5) Isaiah Thomas Receipt Books 1802-1819, vol.18, p. 48,
Papers. A second receipt from the following summer continues the
'Boston, July Nineteenth 1806. Rec'd of Isaiah Thomas, Thirty-five
on account of Miniatures, etc., Wm. M. S. Doyle.' Isaiah Thomas
Books 1802-1819, vol. 18, p. 54.
6) New England Palladium, December 17, 1805.
7) In 1825 the Columbian Museum collection was purchased
by the artist
Ethan Allen Greenwood, see Georgia Brady Barnhill, 'Extracts from
Journals of Ethan Allen Greenwood: Portrait Painter and Museum
Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 103 (April 1993):
8) Arthur B. and Sybil B. Kern, 'The Pastel Portraits of
William B. Doyle,'
The Clarion 13 (Fall 1988): 41-47.
9) 'D. G. LAMONT, MINIATURE PAINTER. The same Artist from
met with such success here about two years ago, will remain for
two or three weeks, and positively no longer, as he is preparing
south. MINIATURES on ivory from $5 to $30 and upwards, and in all
warranted strikingly correct.'. New Hampshire Patriot and State
(Concord), August 19, 1839, 3. Little is known about Lamont's
as a miniaturist
10) George C. Groce & David H. Wallace, The New-York
Dictionary of Artists in America (New Haven: Yale University