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This playful portrait clearly illustrates Samuel Miller's colorful and linear style. Stiff, flatly delineated figures, bold colors, carefully painted costume details, family pets, and thin stylized trees and flowers mark his work. Full cheeks, large almond-shaped eyes, and prominent ears further help to identify Miller's portraits. At least 16 portraits with stylistic similarities have been attributed to Miller, five of which are in the Collection of the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY. Little is known about Samuel Miller's life. He was born in Boston in about 1807, lived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1852, and died in Boston in 1853. Although the subject of this portrait is unknown, the setting may be just south of Boston on the winding North River of Scituate, Massachusetts, with the rolling Coleman's Hills in the background. The house is typical of the one-story, center entrance, gable roofed structures built in that area and on nearby Cape Cod. The presence of so many flowers may be a reference to the girl's character, as 19th-century books were filled with the symbolic meaning of flowers. The rose often represented beauty, the buttercup meant childishness, the lily stood for purity, and the white rosebud was said to suggest a person too young for marriage.
height 54 in ; width 48 in