Collection Research Essays

Portraits before 1840 in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum

In spring 2005, the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent (PHM) was approached by the Museum Loan Network to participate in its new initiative, Energizing Early American Art.  The initiative was designed to reinvigorate the study of pre-1840 American portraiture, by identifying and making available for loan paintings that may be rarely shown in home institutions and by identifying comparable paintings that may inspire scholarship. 

Matthew Palczynski, a graduate student in Art History at Temple University, worked with Jeffrey Ray, PHM’s Senior Curator, to select paintings from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at PHM for loan and additional paintings for further research.  The Museum Loan Network facilitates the long-term loan of art and objects among United States cultural institutions.  It is funded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Office of Arts, which is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Basic catalog and descriptive information for the paintings in this web gallery is taken from: Nicholas B. Wainwright, Ed. Paintings and Miniatures at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1974.
 

A Young Woman of the Penington Family, 1810

Anna Claypoole Peale (b. 1791, Philadelphia; d. 1878, Philadelphia); watercolor on ivory.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, bequest of Edward Carey Gardiner, 1945.
Helena Lawrence Holms (1769 - 1852) was the daughter of James Holmes of New York.  In 1789 she married the Philadelphia sugar refiner Edward Penington at Mulberry Hill, in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
Anna Claypoole Peale was the niece of Charles Willson Peale.  In 1824 she and her sister Sarah Miriam Peale became the first two female members of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  They also became the exemplars of American female portraitists at that time.  Anna's remarkable career as a miniaturist began when she worked as an apprentice at the age of sixteen.  Nearly forty years before the Seneca Falls Convention of July 1848, her apprenticeship is noteworthy, considering the relegated position of female artists in the male-dominated profession of American portraitists.  Anna worked primarily in miniatures and their popularity brought her many commissions, among them two by U.S. presidents, senators, prominent writers and scientists. "Anna, the only child name after her mother's family," Anne Sue Hirshorn notes, "claims the Claypooles' pride and persistence which she noted in the inclusion of the initial "C" in the signature her ivories," in reference to her famous ancestor Oliver Cromwell.

The portrait shows the nearly half-length figure of a young woman looking front. She wears a low-cut black dress.  The portrait measures 2 1/2 by 2 5/8 inches and is inscribed on the front, lower left of center:  "Anna/Peale/18[10]."

Source: Anne Sue Hirshorn, "Anna Claypoole Peale, Margaretta, and Sarah Miriam Peale:  Modes of Accomplishment and Fortune," in Lillian B. Miller, ed., The Peale Family:  Creation of a Legacy 1770-1870, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1996, p. 223.

Big Kansas, or Caussetongua, and Sharitarishe, Chief of the Grand Pawnees, 1821

John Neagle; oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of the artist, 1861.
Caussetongua was the brother of the head chief of the Ottoe (or Kansas) tribe and consented to have his portrait painted by Neagle only because his close friend Sharitarishe would be depicted alongside him.  Sharitarishe, the son of a distinguished orator, fought in New Mexico against the Spaniards and Native Americans.  Both were part of a delegation of prominent Native Americans that met with President James Monroe at the White House in 1821.  The visit was intended to improve relations between the United States and Native Americans in the hope that diplomacy would facilitate the Federal government's westward expansion into Indian Territory.

Caussetongua is shown at the left in deep bust, facing to the right, his cheeks are painted red and are streaked and spotted with blue.  His right ear is also painted red and above his ears are blue and white beads, along with red feathers.  He wears a black turban-like headdress with gray, red and black feathers, a necklace of beads and tusks, and a gray blanket that is wrapped around his shoulders.  Sharitarishe is shown at right facing left; his face is painted with a band of red, running across his cheeks, nose, eyelids and ear.  Like Caussetongua, he wears a gray blanket and a black headdress with cock feathers.  He is adorned by a silver medal with a head in bas relief attached to a beaded necklace and a silver-beaded ornament on his left ear.  The canvas measures 16 3/8 by 22 3/4 inches and is inscribed on the front along the lower margin, "Caussetongua or Big Kansas  of the Ottoe Tribe.  Sharitourishe, Chief of the Grand Pawnees Sketched from life by John Neagle 1821 and presented to the Historical Society 1861." A second inscription on the back reads, "Indians painted from nature by John Neagle 1821."  Neagle exhibited this portrait, along with his Bravest of the Braves, Knife Chief of the Pawnee Loups, at the Pennsylvania
Academy of Fine Arts in 1822.
 

Bravest of the Braves, Knife Chief of the Pawnee Loups, 1821

John Neagle (b. 1796, Boston; d. 1865, Philadelphia); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of the artist, 1861.
Bravest of the Braves, also known as Petalesharoo (Man Chief) was famous because he rescued a young Comanche woman of the Paducah Nation who had been taken prisoner by his nation, the Pawnee Loups.  In 1821, "The Pawnee Brave," an 11 stanza poem was published as a romantic retelling of Petalesharoo's exploits.  Bravest of the Braves was part of a delegation of prominent Native Americans that met with President James Monroe at the White House in 1821.  En route to Washington with Major Benjamin O'Fallon, Bravest of the Braves visited Philadelphia where Neagle, who was a friend of O'Fallon's, painted this portrait.

Neagle's portraits of Bravest of the Braves and other celebrated Native Americans are very different from the paintings of Native Americans by artists, such as Charles Bird King and George Catlin, who tended to Americanize their subjects.  Neagle, who "always thought...[he] resembled the Indian in character," captured the appearance and the character of his sitter accurately.  Like Gustavus Hesselius, whose pendant portraits of Tishcohan (1735, oil on canvas) and Lapowinsa (1735, oil on canvas) are in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at The Philadelphia History Museum, Neagle recorded the impact of European settlers on Native American societies.  Neagle's portraits of Native Americans deviate from the mainstream of American portraits of the period that are usually of white, male and aristocratic sitters, or their wives.  Neagle further pushed the envelope by choosing not to Americanize his Native American sitters, but rather to paint true depictions of their appearance and their character. There are thirteen portraits by John Neagle in PHM's collection, including his Portrait of Gilbert Stuart (Oil on canvas, 1825).

The full-length portrait shows the subject standing to the left, wearing a gray blanket over red and black leggings.  On his head he wears a full-length war bonnet of gray feathers.  The 22 3/4 by 16 3/8 inch canvas is inscribed on the front, at the base of the picture:  "The Knife chief of the Pawnee Loups, called the ‘Bravest of the Braves," painted from nature by John Neagle 1821:  A sketch in oil colors.  Presented to the Historical Society of Philada 1861."

Sources:
Dr. Samuel George Morton, quoted in 150 Years in Western Art, ex. cat., Miller School, Cheyenne, Wyoming (July 1 - August 15, 1967), p. 30.
John Neagle, May 28, 1836 cited by Robert W. Torchia, John Neagle:  Philadelphia Portrait Painter, ex. cat., Philadelphia:  The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1989, p. 113.
 

Charles Willson Peale, 1812

Rembrandt Peale (b. 1778, Philadelphia; d. 1860, Philadelphia); oil on canvas.
Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, bequest of Mrs. John J. Henry, 1935.
Charles Willson Peale is revered for his portraits that "represent the mind...through the features of the man."  He was one of the preeminent American portraitists during the Federal Period and in 1772 he painted the first portrait from life of George Washington.  In 1784 he opened Peale's Museum in Philadelphia and exhibited many of his portraits of notable Americans.  His interest in science marks him as a product of the Enlightenment.  In 1801 Peale excavated two mastodon skeletons and his museum contained many objects of scientific interest.  Charles Willson began an artistic dynasty that included his sons Raphaelle (1774-1825), Rembrandt (1778-1860), Rubens (1784-1765), Titian Ramsay (1799-1885), his nieces Anna Claypoole Peale (1791-1878), Sarah Miriam Peale (1800-1885), and his nephew Charles Peale Polk (1767-1866).

Standing alongside his father, Rembrandt Peale painted a portrait of George Washington from life in 1795 at the age of seventeen. In 1802 he traveled to London and studied under Benjamin West.   In addition to his portraits Rembrandt painted historical subjects and landscapes.  He shared his father's interest in science and assisted the older Peale when he excavated the mastodons in 1801. 

The almost half-length portrait shows C.W. Peale standing slightly to the left with his right hand to the front.  He wears a dark coat and vest, white collar and stock.  In his left hand he holds a wooden palette with colored paints and a number of brushes.  The canvas measures 29 3/4 by 24 1/2 inches and is signed in the lower right:  "C.W. Peale AE 71/by Rembrandt Peale."
 

Edward Penington, 1802

Gilbert Stuart (b. Rhode Island, 1755; d. 1828); oil on panel.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, bequest of Edward Carey Gardiner, 1945.
Edward Penington (1766 - 1834) was the seventh child of Edward Penington and Sarah Shoemaker and a member of Philadelphia's wealthy Quaker elite.  The young Edward was less political than his father, whose opposition to the Revolutionary War led to his exile in 1777 to Winchester, Virginia.  Like his father, Edward was a major sugar refiner and merchant in Philadelphia.  He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  In 1788 he married Helena Lawrence Holmes of New York at Mulberry Hill, in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Gilbert Stuart has been called the "Father of American Portraiture."  While in London from 1777 to 1782 he studies with Benjamin West.  In 1793 Stuart returned to America and painted many celebrated portraits in New York (1793-1795), Philadelphia (1795-1803), Washington, D.C. (1804-1805), and Boston (1805-1828).  Stuart painted the first five United States presidents and is best known for his portraits of George Washington.  In Philadelphia he painted Edward Penington and its pendant portrait Helena Lawrence Holmes Penington (1803, oil on panel, private collection).  According to Ellen Miles the two portraits, "complement each other in color and pose."  There are five portraits by Stuart in the PHM collection.

The deep bust portrait shows Pennington looking left and wearing spectacles.  He wears a black coat and a white stock.  The canvas measures 29 by 23 3/4 inches and is not inscribed.

Source: Carrie Rebora Barratt and Ellen G. Miles, Gilbert Stuart, ex. cat., New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art and New Haven/London:  Yale University Press, 2004, p. 231.
 

Edwin Forest as Rolla, c. 1826

John Neagle; oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of the Edwin Forest Home for Retired Actors, 1988.
Edwin Forrest (1806 - 1872) was born in Philadelphia and became the first real idol of the American stage.  He made his debut at the age of 14 as Norval in John Home's tragedy Douglas.  In 1825 Forrest played Othello in New York and his reputation as a tragedian was established.  Forrest regularly offered cash prizes for plays by American authors and his efforts are considered the beginning of American drama.  Two of his most popular American-authored roles were Metamora in John Augustus Stone's play of the same name and Sparticus in Robert Montgomery Bird's Gladiator.  Neagle was commissioned by Matthias Lopez and Francis C. Wemys in 1826 to paint famous actors working in New York.  Edwin Forrest as Rolla and Neagle's other portraits were then engraved as illustrations for theatrical texts. 

Forrest is shown in the role of the Inca protagonist in Thomas Brinsley Sheridan's adaptation of von Kotzebue's "Pizarro."  The canvas measures 25 1/2 by 20 1/2 inches; it is inscribed on the reverse and signed JN at the lower right in front.  The inscription identifies the moment in the play Neagle painted, when Rolla, who shouts "And I must stab that soldier as I pass?/Take back the dagger," must decide if he should kill Pizarro, his mortal enemy, as he sleeps.

Sources: Richard Moody, Edwin Forrest:  First Star of the American Stage, New York: Knopf, 1960, p. 405.
B. Donald Grose, "Edwin Forrest, ‘Metamora', and the Indian Removal Act of 1830," Theater Journal, Vol. 37, No. 2 (May, 1985), pp. 181-191.
Christopher M. S. St. Johns, "Theater and Theory:  Thomas Sully's ‘George Frederick Cooke as Richard III'," WinterthurPortfolio, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring, 1983) pp. 27-38.
 

Elizabeth O'Neill, 1822

Thomas Sully (b. 1783, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England; d. 1872, Philadelphia); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of Ferdinand J. Dreer.
Elizabeth O'Neill (b. 1791, Ireland; died, 1872, Ireland) was a popular actress who appeared in Belfast, Dublin, Drogheda and London.  Some of her most popular roles were Lady Teazle in Sheridan's School for Scandal, Lady Townley in George Etherege's Man of Mode and Widow Cheerly in The Soldier's Daughter.  In 1814 O'Neill played Juliet at Covent Garden and was acclaimed as one of the great tragic actresses of her age, receiving favorable comparison with Mrs. Siddons. Her other great dramatic roles were Jane Shore and Monimia in Otway's The Orphan. In 1819 O'Neill married William Wrixon-Becher, a member of Parliament from Ireland, and retired from the stage.

Thomas Sully's parents, Matthew and Sarah Sully were both actors and brought their nine children to the United States in 1792. Throughout his life Thomas Sully showed particular interest in the theater and painted the portraits of many leading actors and actresses.  Sully considered Fanny Kimble Butler to be his "muse" and painted several portraits of the famous actress.  Sully's theatrical portraits are an outgrowth of an earlier development in English art.  In the 18th century Sir Joshua Reynolds, the president of the Royal Academy, painted many of the leading actors of the period and gave legitimacy to the genre.  Sully's theatrical portraits are, as Christopher St. Johns observed, "among the most intriguing aspects of Thomas Sully's artistic production [since they]...have literary and historical associations that rank them higher than typical society portraits in the classicizing hierarchy of the genres."  There are 43 portraits by Thomas Sully in the Museum’s collection.

The portrait of Elizabeth O'Neill shows the head and shoulders of the figure facing slightly to right.  She wears a low-cut white dress and grayish white filmy scarf draped over her head.  The canvas measures 17 by 14 inches and is inscribed on the reverse, "TS 1822 May." 

Source: Carrie Rebora Barratt, Queen Victoria and Thomas Sully, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.
 

Francis Hopkinson, 1785

Robert Edge Pine (b. 1730, London; d. 1788, Philadelphia); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of Oliver Hopkinson, 1891.
Francis Hopkinson (1737 - 1791) was a signer of the Declaration of Independence from New Jersey and is credited with the design of the American flag.  In 1761 he was the first graduate of the College of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania.  He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from New Jersey in 1776 and appointed a judge of the United States Court for Pennsylvania by George Washington in 1790.

Robert Edge Pine came to the United States with the intention of painting famous Americans from the Revolution.  He painted many signers of the Declaration of Independence and his Portrait of Aaron Levy and his history painting Congress Voting Independence are in the PHM collection. Rembrandt Peale described Pine as "a little man, a seeming magician, with his maul stick for a wand and palette of colored incantations."  George Washington said of Pine, in a letter to Hopkinson from Mount Vernon on May 16, 1785, "I am so hackneyed to the touch of the Painter's pencil that I am now altogether at their beck, and sit like patience on a Monument whilst they are delineating the lines of my face...It may easily be conceived therefore that I yielded a ready obedience...to Mr. Pine."  This portrait of Francis Hopkinson is believed to the first Pine painted after arriving in America.

The half-length portrait shows Hopkinson in profile, to the left, seated at a table, holding a quill pen and papers.  The canvas measures 35 3/4 by 27 3/4 inches and is signed at the lower left, "R. E. Pine/Pinx/1785."

Sources:
Rembrandt Peale, "The Reminiscences," The Crayon 3, (1856), p. 163, quoted in Lillian B. Miller, "Rembrandt Peale:  The Career of an American Old Master," Rembrandt Peale 1770-1860:  A Life in the Arts, ex. cat., Philadelphia:  The Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1985, p. 13.
George Washington, The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources, Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library.
 

George Washington, 1772

Charles Willson Peale; oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of Charles S. Ogden, 1896.
This portrait is believed to be the first portrait of George Washington painted from life. It was painted by Charles Willson Peale at Mount Vernon in 1772.  The date of this painting and the claim that it is the first life portrait of Washington has been challenged on the grounds that the blue and buff uniform of the Continental Army that he wears did not exist in 1772. In a letter to his son Rembrandt, Charles Willson Peale says that he repainted the uniform to match the Continental Army's; this would explain the fact that the paint of the uniform adheres directly to the canvas and is not over painted. 

The bust portrait shows a young George Washington wearing a blue/black and yellow uniform and black hat. Washington's chin is tipped upwards as he looks left, much like the artist's portrait of John Paul Jones (c. 1781, oil on canvas) in the collection of Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia. The canvas measures 17 1/4 by 14 7/8 inches and is not signed or inscribed.
 

George Washington, 1795

Rembrandt Peale; oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, bequest of Mrs. John J. Henry, 1935.
George Washington (1732 - 1799) was the first president of the United States.  At the age of 19 he was an adjutant general with the rank of major in the Virginia militia and an aide-de-camp to General Braddock in the French and Indian War. In 1758 Washington was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and in 1774 he was a delegate to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  By 1755 he held the title of commander-in-chief of all the American forces throughout the Revolutionary War until his resignation in 1783. He was chosen president of the convention that drafted the Federal Constitution in 1887.  Washington was elected president (without opposition) in 1789 and re-elected in 1793; he declined to run for a third term. 

This canvas is an oil sketch, not a fully realized oil portrait of Washington.  It was painted from life by Rembrandt Peale in Philadelphia in the autumn of 1795 and shows the president facing left, wearing a grey wig tied with a black queue ribbon, black coat and a white neck cloth.  The canvas measures 15 1/4 by 11 3/8 inches and is mounted on another canvas measuring 21 by 17 inches.  Rembrandt's father, Charles Willson Peale, painted alongside the young artist, who was 17 at the time.  The Peales came for three sittings with the president, alternating days with Gilbert Stuart, who was painting his Athenaeum portrait of Washington.
 

Isaac Dutton Barnard, 1833   

Esther Strode (dates are not known); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of William P. Sharpless, 1928.
Isaac Dutton Barnard was a United States senator from 1827 to 1831, when he resigned.  Dutton also served as Secretary of State of Pennsylvania in 1826, a state senator from 1820-26; he was a lawyer and admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1816.  During the War of 1812 he was appointed a captain and then a major in the Fourteenth Regiment of the United States Infantry.

While some information exists on Barnard, virtually nothing is known about Esther Strode; this portrait is the only one PHM has located.  Strode was one of a very small number of female, American portraitists in the early 19th century.  Anna Claypoole Peale and her sister Sarah Miriam Peale are two women artists who did receive favorable critical notice in their lifetimes and their work is now part of the cannon of American art.  Their success was due in no small part to the fact that they were the nieces of Charles Willson Peale and members of America's leading artistic family.  Anna Claypoole Peale's portrait miniatures of Mrs. Edward Pennington (1810, watercolor on ivory) and Marianne Becket (afterwards Lady Wichcote) (1829, watercolor on ivory) are in the collections of PHM and are included in this web gallery.  Strode, who lacked such important familial connections, apparently received no critical recognition in her lifetime and doubtless found it difficult to compete in the male-dominated world of American portraitists. 

Barnard is shown seated in half-length facing slightly to the right.  He wears a black uniform coat with gilt buttons, two gold epaulettes, each with two silver stars, and a high standing collar braided in gold.  He grasps the gild hilt of a sword in his right hand and is seated in a brown wooden chair that is upholstered in red.  A receipted bill reading "Esther Strode 1833" is pasted to the back of the 30 by 25 inch canvas.
 

Joseph Bonaparte, 1824

Charles Willson Peale (b. Queen Anne's County Maryland, 1741; d. Philadelphia, 1827); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of Charles S. Ogden.
Joseph Bonaparte was the oldest bother of the French emperor Napoleon.  He was appointed King of Naples in 1806 and became King of Spain in 1808.  In 1815 he fled Europe, after the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, and settled in Bordentown, New Jersey in 1816, using the name Count de Survillers.  Bonaparte lived in the United States until 1832 when he went back to Europe; he returned to the United States in 1837 and stayed two years.  In addition to his estate in Bordentown, Joseph owned a house in Philadelphia, were there were many supporters of the Bonaparte cause.  Despite the fact that Joseph Bonaparte had been the king of two European nations he was a popular figure in the young American Republic.  John Quincy Adams was among his many guests at Bordentown and Henry Clay gave up his hotel suite for Bonaparte when he arrived in Philadelphia in 1815.  Charles Willson Peale painted this portrait of Joseph Bonaparte for his museum in Philadelphia because he had become a popular figure in American society. 

The portrait shows Bonaparte in almost half length and facing to the right.  He wears a double-breasted black coat with gilt buttons, a white vest, shirt and neck cloth.  The canvas measures 30 by 24 inches and is inscribed on the lower right of the back:  "Joseph Bonaparte/Ex King of Spain/Penna. Historical Society."

Lapowinsa, 1735

Gustavius Hesselius (b. 1682, Sweden; d. 1785, Philadelphia); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of Granville Penn, 1835.
Tishcohan and Lapowinsa were chiefs of the Lenape Tribe.  They were signers of the Walking Purchase Treaty of 1735/37 in which William Penn's sons, John and Thomas, acquired a vast track of land in Pennsylvania.  The Penns claimed that they had a deed dating to the 1680s in which the Lenape Tribe had promised to sell a tract of land beginning between the junction of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers (near Wrightstown, Pennsylvania) "as far west as a man could walk in a day and a half."  Chiefs Lapowinsa,  Tishcohan and other leaders of the Lenape tribe believed that the treaty was genuine and also assumed that about 40 miles was the most a man could walk through the wilderness in a day and a half.  James Logan hired the three fastest runners in Pennsylvania (Edward Marshall, Solomon Jennings and James Yeates) to run out the purchase on a pre-surveyed trail.  The three runners covered almost 70 miles and the Penns acquired 1,200,000 acres of land, an area roughly equivalent to the state of Rhode Island.  The Lenape tried unsuccessfully for almost 20 years to have the agreement overturned; they were forced to vacate the land and move to the Shamokin and Wyoming valleys.

Swedish-born painter Gustavius Hesselius came to Delaware in 1711 and settled in Philadelphia the following year.  He is considered America's first notable portraitist and his Last Supper (1721 - 22) for the St. Barnabus Church in Prince Georges County, Maryland was the first public art commission in the United States.  His son John Hesselius (1728 - 1778) was also a successful portraitist and one of Charles Willson Peale's teachers.  PHM's collection contains six portraits by Hesselius.

Hesselius' portraits of Tishcohan and Lapowinsa are considered the first important paintings of Native Americans in the United States.  Richard H. Saunders and Ellen G. Miles observe of the Tishcohan portrait, "Hesselius portrayed Tishcohan with an objectivity that distinguishes this painting from many of the portraits painted in the 1730s in the American colonies, in which artists sought to portray their sitters according to current European standards of beauty, grace and elegance."

Tishcohan is shown at nearly half length, standing with his body to the front and his head facing slightly to the left.  He wears a blue blanket over his shoulder and a necklace of blue beads and a pouch around his neck.  The canvas measures 33 by 25 inches and is inscribed in the upper left, "Tishcohan."  The name translates "he who never blackens himself" and he is shown without body paint or tattoos.

Lapowinsa is shown at nearly half length, with his body facing to the front and his head facing slightly to the left.  He wears a blue blanket over his shoulder and a necklace of blue beads and a pouch around his neck.  The canvas measures 33 by 25 inches and is inscribed in the upper left, "Lapowinsa."  The name translates "going away to gather food."

Source: Richard H. Saunders and Ellen G. Miles, American Colonial Portraits, 1700-1776, Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1987.
 

Mrs. Benedict Arnold, 17831789

Daniel Gardiner (b. 1750 Kendal, Lancashire; d. 1805, London); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, bequest of William McIlvaine, 1901.
Margaret (Peggy) Shippen (1760-1804) was the daughter of Edward Shippen, Jr. of Philadelphia.  In 1779 she broke her engagement to Major Edward Burd and married General Benedict Arnold.  One year later she was banished from Philadelphia because of her husband's infamous treason and relocated to London.  Margaret Shippen and Benedict Arnold had five children, four sons and one daughter.

Daniel Gardner was trained at the Royal Academy in London; he studied directly under Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Academy's president.  Gardner painted the portraits of many notable people, including the artist Angelica Kauffman.

The three-quarter length portrait shows the subject seated halfway to left with her head turned toward the viewer.  She wears a lilac silk dress and a light blue silk sash around her waist.  She is accompanied by one of her five children who wears a white dress.  The 24 1/2 by 21 1/2 inch upright oval canvas is unsigned and is not inscribed.
 

Sir John St. Claire, 1757

John Singleton Copley (b. 1738, Boston; d. 1815, London); gouache on copper.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of Charles E. Willing, 1882.
Sir John St. Claire was the son of Sir George and Margaret (Crawford) St. Claire.  He was a British soldier who served in Minorca during the War of the Spanish Succession and held the title of quartermaster general of the forces in America in 1754.  In 1755 St. Claire was the adjutant general in Virginia at the time of Baddock's defeat.

John Singleton Copley was one of the most important American painters of the 18th and early 19th centuries.  His portrait of Paul Revere (1768, oil on canvas) in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is one of his many depictions of American revolutionaries that have reached iconic status.  In 1774, he went to London and embraced the genre of history painting, the most highly regarded type of painting in the late 18th century.  His Watson and the Shark (1778, oil on canvas), also in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, depicts the true story of a shark attack in Havana, Cuba.  Although Copley was a self-taught miniaturist S.E. Strickler says that he "raised the standard of miniature painting to a new level."
Copley's miniature portrait shows the head and shoulders of the subject facing right, wearing a powder gray and white wig.  St. Claire wears a vermillion red uniform coat and waistcoat with dark blue facings and dark gray metal buttons; he also wears a white neck cloth and jabot.  The oval measures 1 3/4 by 1 2/5 inches and is signed in the lower right, on the front, "ISC.1757."

Source: Susan E. Strickler, American Portrait Miniatures: The Worcester Art Museum Collection, ex. cat., Worcester, MA: Worcester Art Museum, 1989.

Tishcohan, 1735

Gustavus Hesselius (b. 1682, Sweden; d. 1755, Philadelphia); oil on canvas.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of Granville Penn, 1835.
Tishcohan and Lapowinsa were chiefs of the Lenape Tribe.  They were signers of the Walking Purchase Treaty of 1735/37 in which William Penn's sons, John and Thomas, acquired a vast track of land in Pennsylvania.  The Penns claimed that they had a deed dating to the 1680s in which the Lenape Tribe had promised to sell a tract of land beginning between the junction of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers (near Wrightstown, Pennsylvania) "as far west as a man could walk in a day and a half."  Chiefs Lapowinsa,  Tishcohan and other leaders of the Lenape tribe believed that the treaty was genuine and also assumed that about 40 miles was the most a man could walk through the wilderness in a day and a half.  James Logan hired the three fastest runners in Pennsylvania (Edward Marshall, Solomon Jennings and James Yeates) to run out the purchase on a pre-surveyed trail.  The three runners covered almost 70 miles and the Penns acquired 1,200,000 acres of land, an area roughly equivalent to the state of Rhode Island.  The Lenape tried unsuccessfully for almost 20 years to have the agreement overturned; they were forced to vacate the land and move to the Shamokin and Wyoming valleys.

Swedish-born painter Gustavus Hesselius came to Delaware in 1711 and settled in Philadelphia the following year.  He is considered America's first notable portraitist and his Last Supper (1721 - 22) for the St. Barnabus Church in Prince Georges County, Maryland was the first public art commission in the United States.  His son John Hesselius (1728 - 1778) was also a successful portraitist and one of Charles Willson Peale's teachers.  PHM's collection contains six portraits by Hesselius.

Hesselius' portraits of Tishcohan and Lapowinsa are considered the first important paintings of Native Americans in the United States.  Richard H. Saunders and Ellen G. Miles observe of the Tishcohan portrait, "Hesselius portrayed Tishcohan with an objectivity that distinguishes this painting from many of the portraits painted in the 1730s in the American colonies, in which artists sought to portray their sitters according to current European standards of beauty, grace and elegance."

Tishcohan is shown at nearly half length, standing with his body to the front and his head facing slightly to the left.  He wears a blue blanket over his shoulder and a necklace of blue beads and a pouch around his neck.  The canvas measures 33 by 25 inches and is inscribed in the upper left, "Tishcohan."  The name translates "he who never blackens himself" and he is shown without body paint or tattoos.
Lapowinsa is shown at nearly half length, with his body facing to the front and his head facing slightly to the left.  He wears a blue blanket over his shoulder and a necklace of blue beads and a pouch around his neck.  The canvas measures 33 by 25 inches and is inscribed in the upper left, "Lapowinsa."  The name translates "going away to gather food."

Source: Richard H. Saunders and Ellen G. Miles, American Colonial Portraits, 1700-1776, Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 1987.

Thomas Sully (b. 1783, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England; d. 1872, Philadelphia); oil on canvas
Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection at the Philadelphia History Museum, gift of the Edwin Forest Home for Retired Actors, 1988.
 

William Burton as Bob Acres, 1837

William Evans Burton (1804 - 1860) was a celebrated actor who was also an author, a magazine editor, theater owner and producer.  Burton came to the United States from England to escape the scandal that erupted when it was discovered that he had committed bigamy; marrying a sixteen-year-old orphan, while already married and with a ten-year-old son.  In 1837 Burton began publishing The Gentleman's Magazine, a literary journal.  Edgar Allen Poe was Burton's co-editor and first published many of his poems and short stories in the magazine.  In 1841 Burton sold the magazine and opened his own theater in Philadelphia. The economic depression of the early 1840s bankrupted Burton and he worked as a touring actor until 1845 when he returned to theater management.  Burton managed theaters in Philadelphia and New York until he retired in 1853.  Bob Acres, in Sheridan's The Rivals, was one of his signature roles and he performed it often at the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. 

The portrait of William Burton shows the sitter facing right, wearing a red coat, white vest and shirt and a blue tie.  He wears a hat and holds a riding crop in his right hand. The canvas measures 30 by 25 inches and is inscribed on the reverse, "Mr. Burton as Bob Acres/T. Sully 1837."

Sources: David L. Rinear, Stage, Page, Scandals, and Vandals:  William E. Burton and Nineteenth-Century American Theater, Carbondale:  Southern Illinois University Press, 2004.

Christopher M. S. St. Johns, "Theater and Theory:  Thomas Sully's ‘George Frederick Cooke as Richard III'," WinterthurPortfolio, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring, 1983) p. 27-38.

Carrie Rebora Barratt, Queen Victoria and Thomas Sully, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.