This powerful engraving depicting Henry Clay is after a painting by John Neagle. As the subtitle explains, the portrait was painted at the sitter's home at Ashland, Kentucky by request of the Philadelphia Whigs. As such it is a most accomplished campaign portrait that is replete with allegorical allusions. To Clay's left is the standard pillar of strength and the curtain of elegance is transformed into an American flag. He gestures toward a globe which is turned to South America, for which Clay had much sympathy. At his right are symbols of the economic interests that Clay would have his Whig Party protect from British and European rivals: a shuttle for textiles, an anvil for iron and steel, a plow for agriculture, a cow for husbandry, and a ship for commerce. Clay's American System promoted development and protective tariffs for these American institutions. Below are quotations from two speeches, "The colors that float from the mast-head should be the credentials of our seamen" and "I shall stand out with a spirit unconquered, whilst life endures, ready to second the exertions of the people in the cause of Liberty, the Union, and the National Prosperity." At bottom, right is a facsimile of his signature.
This print is based on a large painting by Neagle that hangs in the Philadelphia Union Club. It is generally considered to be the best likeness of Clay, and Clay himself thought so too. He wrote to Neagle that "in the judgment of my family and friends that you have sketched the most perfect likeness of me that has been hitherto made. My opinion coincides with theirs I think you have happily delineated the character, as well as the physical appearance of your subject." Ref. Bernard Reilly, American Political Prints 1766-1876. A Catalog of the Collections in the Library of Congress. (Boston, 1991): 1843-7. $850
James Wise. "Henry Clay." Philadelphia: James Wise, 1844. Mezzotint by John Sartain. 17 x 11 1/2. Some wear at edges of margins. Otherwise, excellent condition.
This full length portrait was issued during the 1844 presidential campaign, which was Henry Clay's (1777-1852) third and last time to be nominated by the Whigs. Fractious debates over the annexation of Texas and Oregon, as well as the policies on slavery had torn the Whig party to pieces, and the election was lost to James K. Polk (1795-1849). Little is known about James Wise (fl. 1843-1860) who worked as a portrait and miniature painter in New Orleans in 1843 and Charleston, S.C. in 1844-5. He also worked in Virginia and St. Joseph, Missouri, according to Croce and Wallace. John Sartain (1808-1897) also engraved a portrait of John C. Calhoun after this artist. Here is classic portraiture conveyed through the elegance that was so well expressed through mezzotint engraving. In a handsome suit, backed by solid pillars and surrounded by books, writing materials, and a terrestrial globe, "The Great Pacificator" stands in the pose of an ancient orator. $650
A. Newsam after John Neagle. "Henry Clay (From Neagle's original painting)." Philadelphia: C.W. Bender, 1844. Copyright by John Neagle. Vignette, ca. 11 x 9 1/2. Lithographed by P.S. Duval. Excellent condition.
Another excellent portrait of Henry Clay issued during Clay's run for the Presidency in 1844. The lithograph was drawn by A. Newsam, who based the image on a life portrait of Clay painted by John Neagle at Ashland at the request of the Philadelphia Whigs. As attested below the title, Newsam worked under Neagle direct supervision and indeed is was Neagle who held the copyright. Newsam was one of the leading lithographers of the period and Duval produced some of the finest American lithographs of the nineteenth century. This lithograph is testimony to the skill of the painter, lithographer and printer. $525
Chester Harding. "Daniel Webster." Ca. 1850. Engraving by Joseph Andrews and Hezekiah Wright Smith. 25 x 17 1/4. Very good impression and condition.
A superb mezzotint of Webster from a painting (now in the Boston Athenæeum) by Chester Harding (1792-1886). Beginning his career on the American frontier as an itinerant portrait painter, Harding went on to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Design, work in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and London, before ending up to a successful career in Boston. Harding produced paintings of many of the important figures of the mid-nineteenth century, including a number of Webster, of which this is considered one of the best ever done of this great American statesman. Webster, who served as Secretary of State and in the Senate for many years, was perhaps the great orator of the mid-nineteenth century. $850
Joseph Ames. "The Last Days of Webster At Marshfield." Rewmarque below shows view of Marshfield. New York: Smith & Parmelee, 1858. 25 1/4 x 34. Engraving by C. Mottram. Superb impression. Excellent condition.
This striking, rich engraving shows Daniel Webster on his death bed at his home in Marshfield. The engraving by C. Mottram is after a painting by Joseph Ames, and the wealth of symbolism matches the rich engraving. In the center is Webster, propped on a pillow in his bed, talking to his family and friends who surround him, some of whom are stoically absorbing Webster's wisdom while others weep or gaze on with great sorrow. A shaft of light streams in through the widow, lighting the dying man, and creating a dramatic effect for this wonderful example of nineteenth century art.
A very accurate and moving précis of Webster's reputation can be found where fourteen year old Francis O. French wrote in his diary, "Daniel Webster is dead!!!!! His great intellect is at rest forever. No more shall his voice be lifted up in behalf of the dearly beloved Constitution of his country: no more shall we hear his majestic tones echo through the national legislative halls . . . . His laurels are not from the blood stained field but from the powers of his intellect. Which are the most preferable." Quoted from Growing Up on Capitol Hill edited by John J. McDonough (Washington: Library of Congress, 1997). $1,200
Lafosse after Brady's daguerreotype. "Henry Clay." New York: William Schaus, 1861. 24 7/8 x 19 1/2. Lithograph by Lafosse. Printed by Delarue, Paris. Full margins. Very good condition.
A rare, very large portrait of Clay. Published by William Schaus, who had started working for Goupil & Co, but then set up on his own in New York City. Many of his prints, like this one, were produced in France, for the quality of these prints was generally higher than American prints of the day. The image is based on a photograph by Brady, and it is beautifully drawn onto the lithographic stone by Lafosse. The print is a bust portrait of a young Clay, and the scale is unlike most other portraits of the nineteenth century. A most usual and rare print. $475
Brown's Portrait Gallery. A folio series of all 27 profile portraits of American politicians. Originally lithographed in 1844 by E.B. and E.C. Kellogg in Hartford, Connecticut, this facsimile edition was published in 1931 and limited to 600 copies. $1,500
Popular Prints of the Presidents
During the nineteenth century, lithographic publishers such as Currier & Ives, from New York and the Kellogg firm, from Hartford, and many others elsewhere, issued thousands of images in separately issued prints. These prints were intended as frameable art for the American people. Among the more popular subjects for these prints were portraits of the Presidents, appropriate subjects to grace one's home or office. This type of popular portrait began, however, earlier in 1828 when the Pendleton lithographic company of Boston issued a series of portraits, of the first five Presidents, for taken from paintings by Gilbert Stuart done for John Doggett. This set, called the "American Kings," was the first uniform group of popular prints of all the Presidents. The prints were very popular and created a strong market for small folio lithographs of the Presidents. This market was answered over the next decades by a number of other lithographic publishers. These portraits, of current and past Presidents, would have graced many American homes
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