Miniature portrait, possibly an early depiction of James K. Polk, attributed to Charles Burton. Charcoal on paper, bust-length profile of a man with receding hairline in formal attire, seated in a “fancy” painted chair. Antique, but possibly not original giltwood molded frame and paper mat. 4-1/4″ x 3-1/8″ sight, 8 x 7″ framed. Circa 1820. Note en verso states that this portrait was purchased from the Collier-Crichlow estate auction in Murfreesboro, TN in 1985. A portrait of Andrew Jackson was also listed in that auction. This portrait was sold again in 1993 at the auction of the Absalom Scales home in Eagleville, where it was listed as “a period miniature sketch of Pres. James K. Polk in a gold leaf frame” (a poster from that auction is included with this lot). The portrait bears a strong resemblance to some twenty five other charcoal miniature portraits cataloged by the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, nearly all of which have the identical chair depicted and are attributed to Burton. Charles Burton is known to have produced portraits of sitters in North Carolina, New York City, Baltimore, and Jefferson County, Virginia from about 1819-1842. Few early profile portraits of Polk exist for comparison. The future president was born in North Carolina in 1795 and returned there for school from 1816-1818 and periodically throughout his life. He died in 1849. Condition: Light toning, mat and frame possibly not original.
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