The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects

Miniature portrait of John Gwathmey



Miniature portrait of John Gwathmey


John Gwathmey (1774-1824) migrated to Jefferson County, KY, as a child with his parents Owen and Ann Clark Gwathmey. He married Ann Booth Gwathmey in 1800. He bought five acres near 6th and Cedar streets in Louisville, where he built a two-story brick house later known as the Grayson House. He operated the Indian Queen, a hotel at 6th and Main Streets, and an important social and civic hub in the city. In 1816, he sold his home and moved his family to New Orleans where he operated the Merchants Coffee House, the oldest coffee house in the city. In the era before photography, miniature portraits were popular mementos of loved ones that could be easily carried across long physical distances. The watercolor on ivory portraits were desired for the way artists could accurately capture a subject, working in such small dimensions.


The Filson Historical Society Museum Collection






Attributed to Benjamin Trott, “Miniature portrait of John Gwathmey,” The Filson Historical Society Digital Projects, accessed November 29, 2023,