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MANUSCRIPT RECEIPT ISSUED TO ONE MR. READ - [SAINT MÃ©min, Charles B.J.F. de] - 1801. 
Philadelphia, 1801. p. Old fold lines. Minor foxing and wear. Very good. A receipt from celebrated French-American profile portraitist, Charles St. MÃ©min for "a profile in crayons, a plate engraved, and twelve impressions" for $25. Mr. Read is also charged for "two dozen extra impressions...a large burnished frame...[and] two small round frames." His total expenditure was $37. This was almost certainly Nathan Read, at that time a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts, and the only person of that last name in Miles' catalogue of St. MÃ©min's works. A Harvard graduate, Read was a pioneering inventor in steam navigation and iron ship's materials. He served two terms in Congress, and would have been in Philadelphia just before the government moved to Washington. During a career that spanned fourteen years, from 1796 to 1810, itinerant French artist Charles St. MÃ©min captured the profiles of an astounding number of influential Americans. His miniature engravings were in great demand among the wealthy and powerful, and he travelled from New York to Washington, Alexandria, Georgetown, Annapolis, Richmond, Norfolk, Charleston, and other cultural centers, executing commissions in his distinctive style. An interesting document recording what was likely a typical transaction for the artist, selling to the sitter the original crayon portrait, the engraved plate based upon it, a number of engravings for distribution to family and friends, and a few frames. MILES, ST. MÃ‰MIN 686.
[Bookseller: William Reese Company - Americana]
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