"Mrs. Thomas Leiper and Her Daughter, Helen Hamilton Leiper" as shown on Oil on Canvas, 1794 by Charles Willson Peale. Do you recognize the features in the little one's face or perhaps on her mom's face? She would have been roughly two years old in the picture, having been born on April 20th 1792.
After having grown up in Philadelphia, in 1814 she married Robert Maskell Patterson M.D. and had seven children. Philadelphia in 1792 was home to our first Mint. Mr. Patterson's dad was Robert Patterson L.L.D. who was the Director of the Mint from 1806 to 1824, having been appointed by President Jefferson. Mr. Robert Maskell Patterson M.D.was appointed Director of the Mint by President Andrew Jackson from July 1, 1835 to July 1851, having succeeded his brother-in-law Samuel Moore in that position who was appointed by President Monroe. A family monopoly for over 45 years, 1806 to 1851.
The War of 1812 ended February 18, 1815 between Britain and the United States. Copper planchets did not arrive in casks from Matthew R. Bolton's English company until late in 1815. 1815 was the only year in which the United States did not coin any cents. On August 22 through the 24th of 1814 the British had dealt a major blow when a force attacked Washington burning the White House and among other buildings the Treasury. These events compiled to allow a refocus on 1816. It is well documented that 1814 was the last year for the Classic Head Cent with the fillet banner in her hair, due to dislike from the public of Engraver John Reich's design. 1815 then was used to let Design Engraver Robert Scot shape a new portrait. The Matron Head Large Cent design became of age and ruled or reigned from 1816 to mid-year 1835.
Now enters the little girl in the picture, Helen Hamilton Leiper of Irish descent. She is now 23 years of age,with a father-in-law as acting Director of the Mint and a new bride having married his Irish descent son in 1814. A daughter-in-law's portrait fit for the 1816 Robert Scot design!
Some testimonials: Alexandre Vattemare from France (1796-1864) was a founder of the Boston Public Library and an advocate for public libraries and international library exchange. He wrote in his 1861 book or catalog; "COLLECTION DE MONNAIES ET MEDAILLES DE L'AMERIQUE DU NORD DE 1652 A 1858";"1808 a 1815" bear "le portrait de madame Madison" later the "Effigie de Mme Patterson".
Legendary Numismatist and Author Q. David Bowers in his 2018 book titled;"ALEXANDRE VATTEMARE AND THE NUMISMATIC SCENE"; mentions on pages 73 and 74 a catalog by Edward Cogan from 1877 that tells of engravers using Mrs. Patterson from 1816 to 1838.
So here is my story of the portrait of the lovely Matron Head Large Cent and I am glad after two hundred plus years she has a name!