National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Robert Bayard Severy in memory of Josephine McClintock Bellamy Severy (1914 -- 2001), great, great granddaughter of William Walton Woolsey (1766 -- 1839), brother-in-law of William Dunlap, from her family of Donald Phelps Severy, Robert Bayard Severy, and Arabella McClintock Severy Olander Conserved with funds from the Smithsonian Women's Committee
Born Perth Amboy, New Jersey
William Dunlap is now best known as America’s first art historian. His History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design in the United States (1834) remains an essential account of early American culture and the arts. Dunlap studied art in London with Benjamin West, and while there he grew to love the theater. When he returned to America he pursued careers as both a dramatist and painter. This is one of three known miniature self-portraits of Dunlap and was likely created when he began to take commissions for miniatures, around 1805.
Dunlap's brother-in-law, William Walton Woolsey; by family descent to Josephine McClintock Bellamy Severy, mother of the donor