Samuel Prioleau II [recto] and Mrs. Samuel Prioleau II (Providence Hext)[verso]
Artist: Unknown American Date: ca. 1775
Prioleau was a substantial landowner, but lived primarily in Charleston. Under the siege of the British in 1780, he was banished on the prisoner ship "Torbay." The miniature closely resembles a bust-length oil portrait in the style of Jeremiah Theus and may in fact be a copy of it. The interpretation is emphatically realistic, with strong contrasts of light and shade.
Providence married Prioleau in 1739. Her portrait is on the reverse of his and bears the following inscription on the bow of the locket: "P. Prioleau OBt FEBy 1775 AE 52." Like her husband's portrait, Mrs. Prioleau's is unidealized and is likely based on an oil portrait. The miniatures seem to date from after her death in 1775.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1984