Abraham Seaman (fl.c.1724-53)
This gentleman sitter is typical of Abraham Seaman’s patrons...
Abraham Seaman was part of a family of artists – including Noah (probably his brother), Isaac and Enoch. Little is known about the Seaman family other than that they painted portraits in a variety of media in England during the first half of the eighteenth century. Both Abraham and Noah’s enamel portraits are to be found in Dutch collections, including the Dutch Royal Collection, so it is possible that they were peripatetic artists. Works by the Seaman brothers are technically close to Christian Friedrich Zincke’s enamelled portraits - the most prolific and well-known enameller in England during this time. It is possible that they were apprenticed to him or assisted in his studio.
The unknown gentleman portrayed here is typical of Abraham Seaman’s patrons. Although Zincke regularly painted nobility and, on occasion, royalty, the popularity of enamels by 1740 had widened the patronage out to the wealthy merchant class. Although enamelling was technically challenging its fashionable status encouraged miniaturists to experiment in the medium. This produced mixed results and, on the whole, only the specialist artists were able to set up successful practices.