Online fans of the Broadway musical Hamilton have frequently misidentified this image as a portrait of Peggy Schuyler, Alexander Hamilton’s sister-in-law.
Susan Coren Towers was the daughter of a major in the Revolutionary War, and her husband was a successful woolen goods manufacturer. While little is known about Towers outside of her husband’s and father’s pursuits, Peale painted her with slightly asymmetrical clothing, bouncy curls, and a slight smirk, possible hints at her personality. While many portrait miniatures have compartments containing the sitter’s hair, this example holds hair from two individuals, likely Towers and a loved one.
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