Two interpretations regarding James Campbell's portrait by Charles Fraser exist: that he died shortly after the portrait was painted; or that the portrait actually is a posthumous likeness. In his account book Fraser noted "Mr. CampbeIl's son from a bust . . . $50," which may indicate that the boy was already deceased.
Like several of Fraser's other portraits of children, James' head is too large for his body, a quality which is shared by his companion, the dog. In terms of composition, the pose is uncharacteristically complicated and even suggests movement, a curiosity if, in fact, the child was dead.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1984