This portrait is by Philadelphia miniaturist John Henry Brown and is signed and dated 1861. Brown’s account book names the sole male sitter in 1861 (if the list is complete) as Thomas H. Powers, Esq., making him the likely subject. A wealthy industrialist, Powers, with others in the city’s elite, was reported by the Philadelphia Tribune in 1871 as protesting race riots that resulted in the murders of several of Philadelphia’s black residents.
Brown frequently had his subject pose for a daguerreotype, freeing both parties from tedious sittings. This miniature pair is the only known extant example of a Brown portrait that is identical to its source photograph.
Citation: John Henry Brown (1818-1891), portrait miniature. Watercolor on ivory; leather, glass, and metal frame
Philadelphia, 1861. Purchase funded by an anonymous donor. 2001.7