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Miniature Portrait of Daniel Corbit

Probably Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

c. 1830




2 1/2 in x 21/4 in x 3/8 in (frame 5 5/8 in x 4 5/8 in)


Watercolor on ivory, glass, gold, hair, and cloth.

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Barbara Nowland Allison

Accession Number



“DANIEL CORBIT / Born 10th Mo. 10th, 1796 / Died 5th Mo. 10th, 1877” is stamped in gold on black leather attached to the back of the frame.


The miniature descended from Daniel Corbit to his daughter Louisa Corbit Corbit (1838–1901), to her daughter Eliza Naudain Corbit Lea (1861–1945), to Louise Corbit Lea Nowland (1898–1989), to the donor.


Daniel Corbit was in his early 30s when his likeness was captured in this miniature by an unknown artist, probably in Philadelphia.  He married for the first time shortly thereafter, in 1833.  Miniatures were personal remembrances.  It is tempting to think that Corbit may have given it to his intended, Eliza Naudain.  Strands of hair laid in an X across folded black cloth and visible under a glass cover on the back provide further evidence of the intimate nature of miniatures.

The miniature was executed in watercolors on ivory, which lends luminosity to the image, especially visible in the sitter’s skin.  Paint was applied in small dots, giving the artist better control of the evolving image.


Hotchkiss, “Corbit-Sharp Family Circle,” 162–63.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 248-249.