The Museum Collection

Traylor Miniature of Edgar Allan Poe

ID #: 62
Creator: Unknown Artist
Date: ca. 1900
Format: Watercolor on Ivory
Source: Gift of Mrs. Lewis G. Larus
Collection: Poe Foundation, Inc.
Place of Publication:
Publish Date:


This watercolor miniature on ivory was painted by an unknown artist around 1900. Little is known of the history of this tiny painting, which was acquired by the Poe collector Robert Lee Traylor in 1905 from Bell Book and Stationary Company in Richmond. The painting had been consigned to the store by W.E. Jones, acting on behalf of the Baltimore art dealers Bendann Brothers. Jones had acquired the piece in Annapolis, Maryland.

Robert Lee Traylor, believing it to have been painted from life when Poe was 26, had it published repeatedly as the "earliest known image of Poe," but its similarity to an 1846 oil portrait by Samuel Osgood suggests that it was based on a derivative of that painting--possibly one of John Sartain?s engravings of it done in 1849 and 1885. After Traylor's death, his daughter, Mrs. Lewis Griffin Larus, donated the miniature to the Poe Museum in 1946.