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Miniature portrait of a mother and two young children, probably the Bell family
Attributed to Abraham Parsell (1791-1856)
New York, circa 1830
Watercolor on ivory, seamed horizontally along lower margin, 3 x 2 inches, with a period painted frame

Accompanied by an engraved calling card from Mrs. O. N. Bostwick, 83 Remsen St, Brooklyn, which is inscribed on verso in pencil: “L. H. Bell / Mr. W. K. Bell / Samuel Peter Bell / Harriet Bell.” Also accompanied by note inscribed: “In memoriam / Harriet M. Bell / Ap 5 1803 / Nov 8 1828 / Aetat 22 years 3 days”

With its depiction of three individual sitters in a single composition, this ranks as one of the largest and most complex known works by Abraham Parsell. A New Jersey native, Parsell was active in New York City where he was listed in business directories from 1820 to 1856 as a miniaturist. His miniature portraits are represented in the collections of The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the New Jersey Historical Society. At least one miniature has been recorded with a calling card backing which read: “A. Parsell, MINIATURE PAINTER No 46, McDougal Street, New York.”