Rachel Rifat


The Colonial Dog
Image Number Two
During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a class of artist tradesmen called "limners" traveled up and down the eastern seaboard and into the Northwest territories plying their craft. They would visit cities, towns, farms, and plantations painting portraits for their patrons.

The name for their occupation derives from the lime based paint, which these artists used as their medium. The portraits, which are now called "naive style", were completed on prepared panels, most often hardboard, though occasionally canvas, on which had been pre-painted the background, figure, and clothing. The client would chose an appropriate panel and the limner would execute a likeness on the pre-painted body.

With the invention of photography, many of these traveling artificers traded in their easels for cameras, their brushes for glass plates, and their lime based paint for photo chemicals, and the "Limner" became a forgotten occupation.