Early American Portraits of Children

Early American Children Portraits by Joseph Whiting Stock

You indicated to me that your found these wonderful early American children portraits in a box of ephemera which you purchased at an auction. You further stated that they measure 8.5″ x 6″ and are on paper stock, there are no signatures on either piece and are curious as to who these wonderful children are because you have seen these images before.

You have copies of Early American portraits of the children of William Howard Smith.

The little girl in the lovely pink dress is Mary Jane Smith painted in 1838. She was two when the original was painted and the original painting is close to life-sized in height.

The little boy is William Howard Smith and was painted by the same artist it was also painted in 1838. I love that you can see the family dog near his feet. This original is also painted near life-size in height.

Mr. Smith was a well known carriage and stagecoach maker and dear little William went on to run the family business and carry on its success.

The artist is Joseph Whiting Stock. Mr. Stock (1815-1855), was a well known portrait artist and painted many important people, families and children. He was also known for his miniature portrait paintings and landscapes.

What you have are two of what was more than likely a set of 6 or 8 prints of paintings by Stock. They would have come in a portfolio set and most often were given away by banks and insurance companies. They would have been in a folder with the company name on the front.

The current value is $10-$15 each if free of marks or stains.

Written by Michelle Staley

Michelle Staley has over 35 years of experience as an antique collector, picker and dealer. She has done hundreds of insurance and IRS appraisals in addition to just satisfying another collector or dealer’s curiosity concerning what an item is, does or its worth. Other experience includes her work as a forensics consultant and in archeological identification and dating.

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  1. jacqueline albert

    Hi Michelle how much is the original painting in value of mary jane smith .by joseph whiting stock. its oil painted on a hard panel no signature. hope u can help me thx so much.

    • Michelle Staley

      Based on previous auction sales, at a high end auction, if in original good to excellent condition, they could bring $15,000-$30,000 USD as a pair.

      Mary Jane Smith alone in the above stated condition would sell for $5,000 – $8,000

      With paintings of this age they can get a little grimy and dirty but you don’t want to get them cleaned. The purist in the folk art genre want paintings in original condition.


  2. Hello, I just bought a painting of his. It is the Mary Jane Smith painting. How do I know how much it is worth and if it is the original?

    • Michelle Staley

      Thank you for visiting my appraisal page.

      In order to determine if it is an original painting it needs to be evaluated in person. The real paintings were commissioned so there is only the 1 original of each. It is a popular painting so it is possible that it was painted at an art factory.

      As for price it would fall into the same price range as noted in the comments section.

      If you would still like for me to view photos and do an appraisal please go to the Submit Appraisal page.

      Cheers, Michelle

    • Michelle Staley

      Thank you for visiting my appraisal site.

      I have replied to this question in the comments section of the appraisal. If you feel that you have something other than what I have written about please go to the submit appraisal page for an appraisal on your item.

      Cheers, Michelle

  3. I now have the Mary Jane smith painting and I’m not sure who to contact to find out if it’s a an original painting. Is there someone in particular I should contact in Chicago?

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