Anna (left) and Margaretta were the daughters of James Peale, Philadelphia’s leading miniature painter at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Trained to paint portraits by his brother Charles Willson, James specialized in miniatures and still lifes. His daughters, in turn, became artists, mastering genres in which their father excelled.
Anna (1791-1878) was a miniaturist and one of the first professional women artists in the United States. She showed her work frequently in the Academy’s annual exhibitions and was elected an academician in 1824. Among her sitters were two United States presidents (James Monroe and Andrew Jackson), many diplomats, and clients from Boston to Richmond. She spent most of her career in Philadelphia, but maintained a studio in the family’s second museum in Baltimore. Margaretta (1795-1882) favored still-life painting. Although she occasionally exhibited in the Academy’s annual exhibitions, was not as professionally active as her older sister.