A rice planter who studied law in London for a short time in 1777, Manigault became Charleston's most accomplished gentleman-amateur architect. He designed elegant houses in the Adamesque style for himself and his brother Joseph, the hall for the South Carolina Society, a building for a branch of the First Bank of the U.S. (now Charleston City Hall), and the Chapel of the Charleston Orphan House. He married Margaret lzard in 1785.
The miniature resembles very closely a portrait by Gilbert Stuart (Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo) painted in New York in 1794. Robertson could have either made a version of the oil "in little" or availed himself of the same sittings while Manigault was in New York. The miniature is less stormy than Stuart's portrait, with more controlled lighting and more neatly coiffed hair.
Manigaults expression in the miniature verges on the supercilious, and the background is an unusual mustard-yellow.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1984