1803 portrait Mrs Gilmore (Baltimore) by Charles de Saint-Mémin

$500.00 CAD

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Listed in the Maryland Historical Society Saint-Memin Print Collection as:

Gilmore, Mrs. William     Baltimore 1803    Dexter #284

(In 1862, Elias Dexter published The Saint-Memin Collection of Portraits, containing photographs of Saint-Mémin's American portraits and biographical sketches of the sitters. Although some sitters were misidentified in the volume, it has been used as a standard means for identification of the Saint-Mémin portraits   www.mdhs.org)

Handwritten on card: ‘Mrs Gilmore, 1803.’

There seems to have been different spelling of the last name. I believe that 'Gilmor' is also a possibility.

Image is glued to cardboard card. Slight loss of paper on backing card.

Card dimension: 8 cm x 6.25 // 3 1/8” x 2 7/16” 

Image diameter:  5.5 cm / 2 ¼”


In 1767, Robert Gilmor, the son of Gavin and Janet (Spier) Gilmor, made a voyage to the shores of the Chesapeake, where he disposed of a cargo of merchandise advantageously. He was born in Paisley, Scotland, in November, 1748, and married, in 1771, Louisa Airey. They were living in St. Mary's County, at the time of the outbreak of the war of the Revolution. Afterwards, he formed a business partnership with Thomas Williams and Robert Morris, the well-known financier.

Their son, William Gilmor, married Mary Ann, the daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Custis (Teackle) Smith, and the widow of --- De Drisdale. Issue, five children, one being Robert.


Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin was born in France in 1770. He served as an officer in the French Army, and was exiled after the French Revolution. When he arrived in the United States in 1793, he began to teach himself the arts of engraving and painting, producing some views of New York City as early as 1794. His first work was published in 1796, the year he began a portrait business with Thomas Bluget de Valdenuit, a fellow Frenchman. The two utilized the physiognotrace, a device whereby a sitter's profile was traced by a bar, and a pantograph, with a piece of chalk attached to its end, drew the same profile in a smaller dimension onto a piece of paper. Details were then added to the outline drawing. Another pantograph was used to trace the drawing and produce a continuous line engraving on a copper plate. Saint-Mémin then utilized a roulette, a tool of his own invention, to produce shading on the engravings. The sitter usually received the drawing, the copper plate and a dozen engravings for a set fee.

While in business with Valdenuit, Saint-Mémin produced the engravings from his partner's drawings. The partnership dissolved after about a year, and Saint-Mémin went on to create both the portrait drawings and engravings himself. He left New York in 1798, and traveled down the east coast of the United States, with stays in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, and Charleston.