The portrait of Theodore Gourdin was originally attributed to miniaturist Charles Fraser,
but recently uncovered facts indicate otherwise. There is a "Mrs.
Gourdine" listed in Charles Fraser's account book in 1826, which
corresponds to Fraser's portrait of Theodore's wife,
however, no record of Mr. Gourdin's portrait appeared in his account
book at any time. Close examination of the two reveals that they are
technically distinct. Since the overall designs are complementary, it
suggests that one was conceived at a later date with the other in mind.
It is believed that the Theodore Gourdin portrait was painted
between 1813 and 1815 as a substitute for himself when he was away
serving as a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina.
Since Fraser's early miniatures were oval and his later ones rectangular, it's likely that he painted Mrs. Gourdin in a circular format to match an existing miniature of Mr. Gourdin.
Because circular miniatures were generally associated with the
Continent, the artist may have been of French descent, or else agreed
to the format at the request of his patron.
Click on an image below for more information on this artist's miniatures.