Difference between revisions of "Depictions of Wythe"

From Wythepedia: The George Wythe Encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m
 
(44 intermediate revisions by the same user not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
As a signer of the [[Declaration of Independence]], George Wythe's portrait was much-sought after by artists.
+
<randomimage size="400" float="right" choices="SilvetteWythe1979.jpg|GeorgeWythePortrait.jpg|BacheSilhouette.jpg|BenbridgeWythe.jpg|Trumbull1791Wythe.jpg|GreatAmericanLawyers1907Wythe.jpg|Longacre1823Wythe.jpg|Rosenthal1888Wythe.jpg|Erekson1876Wythe.jpg|Morel1920Wythe.jpg|Crossman1927Wythe.jpg|Leney1807Wythe.jpg" />
 +
In an 1806 [[Jefferson-Peale Correspondence|letter to the painter, Charles Willson Peale]] (1741 &ndash; 1827), [[Thomas Jefferson]] laments that he only has a "shade in profile" remaining of his friend and mentor, [[George Wythe]], "whose portrait was never taken."<ref>[http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib016602 Jefferson to Charles Willson Peale, 22 November 1806], ''The Thomas Jefferson Papers,'' Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.</ref> Jefferson sent Peale a copy of the profile, from which a portrait was made by "filling the out line of your late friend Judge Wythe. Whether you may find it equally striking as to likeness I cannot say, for my remembrance has not furnished me with any Idea's of the form of his features, therefore it is all guess work."<ref>[http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib016670  Charles Willson Peale to Jefferson, 13 December 1806], ''The Thomas Jefferson Papers,'' Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.</ref> The current location of Peale's portrait of Wythe is unknown, and it was probably dispersed with Jefferson's estate after his death.
 +
 
 +
Despite what Jefferson tells us, there is a portrait identified as Wythe&mdash;in miniature&mdash;in the collection of the [http://www.rwnaf.org/collections/item?id=1617 R.W. Norton Art Gallery,] in Shreveport, Louisiana, attributed to [[wikipedia:Henry Benbridge|Henry Benbridge]] (1743 &ndash; 1812). A watercolor on ivory, 1&frac12; inches tall &times; 1&frac14; wide, the miniature depicts Wythe as a young man. A 1971 text on Benbridge published by the Smithsonian Institution's [http://www.npg.si.edu/ National Portrait Gallery] observes, however: "Since the history of this portrait does not go back beyond 1941, it is suspect. The technique is not characteristically Benbridge."<ref>Robert G. Stewart, ''Henry Benbridge (1743-1812): American Portrait Painter,'' (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971), 81.</ref> This statement does not necessarily mean the miniature is not, however, an authentic portrait of Wythe.
 +
 
 +
Silhouettes were a popular form of portraiture in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries. Wythe's profile in shadow (or "shade," as Jefferson describes it) was taken at least twice. William DuVal describes two silhouettes in a [[Jefferson-DuVal Correspondence|letter to Thomas Jefferson]] in December, 1806, after Wythe's death: "The profile you have, will shew his appearance at that period of his Life, and the one I have, will exhibit a strong likeness a few years before his untimely Death."<ref>[[Jefferson-DuVal Correspondence|William DuVal to Jefferson, 21 November 1806]], ''The Thomas Jefferson Papers,'' Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.</ref> The later profile, taken in 1804 by [[Bache Silhouette|William Bache]] (1771 &ndash; 1845) is described by Jefferson as being "6 or 8 [inches in] length";<ref>Jefferson to Peale, 22 November 1806.</ref> while the earlier profile is said by DuVal to be "in miniature."<ref>[[Jefferson-DuVal Correspondence|William DuVal to Jefferson, 12 July 1806]], [http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.mss/mtj.mtjbib016305 ''The Thomas Jefferson Papers,''] Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.</ref> Only a copy of the Bache silhouette has survived to the present day, and appears in an [http://face2face.si.edu/my_weblog/2008/08/herein-hangs-a-tale-the-bache-silhouette-book.html album of Bache's work] in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery.
 +
 
 +
In addition to Bache's silhouette, there is a sketch by John Trumbull taken from life in 1791, for his large (18 feet &times; 12 feet) painting of the ''Declaration of Independence,'' which is in the United States Capitol rotunda, in Washington, D.C. Trumbull spent more than thirty years obtaining sketches of as many living signers of the Declaration he could find, and made several versions before the final painting was unveiled in 1818. In addition to the official painting, there is a smaller (38 &times; 21 inches) [http://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/declaration-independence-july-4-1776 study at the Yale University Art Gallery] in New Haven, Connecticut, and another version (108 &times; 72 inches), completed by Trumbull in 1832, at the [http://www.thewadsworth.org/ Wadsworth Atheneum,] in Hartford. In all three paintings, Wythe appears at the far left edge of the scene.
 +
 
 +
Some of these portrayals of Wythe were used as the basis for a series of illustrated, [[Bicentennial Postcards|commemorative postcards]] issued by the United States Postal Service in 1985.
  
 
==Images of George Wythe==
 
==Images of George Wythe==
 
<randomimage size="400" float="right"
 
choices="SilvetteWythe1979.jpg|GeorgeWythePortrait.jpg|BacheSilhouette.jpg|BenbridgeWythe.jpg|Trumbull1791Wythe.jpg|GreatAmericanLawyers1907Wythe.jpg|LongacreWythe.jpg|Rosenthal1888Wythe.jpg|Erekson1876Wythe.jpg|Crossman1927Wythe.jpg" />
 
  
 
<gallery widths="250" heights="300" perrow="4">
 
<gallery widths="250" heights="300" perrow="4">
File:BenbridgeWythe.jpg|Miniature by Henry Benbridge (c. 1770), [http://www.rwnaf.org/collections/item?id=1617 R.W. Norton Art Gallery.]
+
File:BenbridgeWythe.jpg|Miniature, attributed to Henry Benbridge (c. 1770). Original at the [http://www.rwnaf.org/ R.W. Norton Art Gallery,] Shreveport, Louisiana.
File:Trumbull1791Wythe.jpg|Sketch from life, by John Trumbull, in Williamsburg (1791).
+
File:Trumbull1791Wythe.jpg|Pencil sketch from life, by John Trumbull, in Williamsburg (1791). Image courtesy of the [http://www.history.org/ Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.]
File:BacheSilhouette.jpg|William Bache silhouette (1804).
+
File:BacheSilhouette.jpg|William Bache silhouette (1804). From [https://catalog.swem.wm.edu/law/Record/593884 ''Shades of Our Ancestors,''] by Alice Van Leer Carrick (1928).  
File:GreatAmericanLawyers1907Wythe.jpg|William Satchwell Leney (1807).
+
File:Leney1807Wythe.jpg|William Satchwell Leney etching (1807) for the ''[[American Gleaner]].'' Original at the [http://www.vahistorical.org/ Virginia Historical Society].
File:LongacreWythe.jpg|J.B. Longacre, after Leney.
+
File:TrumbullDeclarationOfIndependence1818Detail.jpg|Detail from John Trumbull's painting, ''Declaration of Independence'' (1818). Original at the [http://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/historic-rotunda-paintings/declaration-independence U.S. Capitol,] Washington, D.C.
File:LossingWythe.jpg|Lossing (1859).
+
File:Longacre1823Wythe.jpg|J.B. Longacre etching (1823), after W.S. Leney. From John Sanderson's [[Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence|''Biography of the Signers to the Declaration of Independence'']] (vol. 2).
File:Hall1868Wythe.jpg|William Bryan Hall (1868).
+
File:LossingWythe.jpg|Lossing illustration (1859). Image courtesy of the [http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?em6141 New York Public Library.]
File:Brotherhead1872Wythe.jpg|Brotherhead (1872).
+
File:Hall1868Wythe.jpg|William Bryan Hall (1868). Image courtesy of the [http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?420442 New York Public Library.]
File:Erekson1876Wythe.jpg|Erekson (1876).
+
File:Brotherhead1872Wythe.jpg|Brotherhead illustration (1872). From [https://catalog.swem.wm.edu/law/Record/3789959 ''The Centennial Book of the Signers.'']
File:Rosenthal1888Wythe.jpg|Rosenthal (1888).
+
File:Erekson1876Wythe.jpg|Erekson lithograph (1876). Original at the [http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003666901/ Library of Congress.]
File:NationalCyclopaedia1893Wythe.jpg|''National Cyclop&aelig;dia'' (1893).
+
File:Weir1876Wythe.jpg|John Ferguson Weir painting (1876), after John Trumbull. Image from [https://catalog.swem.wm.edu/law/Record/1441178 ''History of the Portrait Collection, Independence National Historical Park,''] (2001). Original at [http://www.nps.gov/inde/ Independence National Historical Park,] Philadelphia.
File:Crossman1927Wythe.jpg|Portrait by William H. Crossman (1927), after Trumbull's sketch.
+
File:Rosenthal1888Wythe.jpg|Rosenthal, after Leney (1888). Image courtesy of the [http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/id?421201 New York Public Library.]
File:GeorgeWythePortrait.jpg|Wolf Law Library portrait.
+
File:NationalCyclopaedia1893Wythe.jpg|From the [[National Cyclopaedia of American Biography|''National Cyclop&aelig;dia of American Biography'']] (1893).
File:DeWeldonWythe1954.jpg|Marble bust by [[wikipedia:Felix de Weldon|Felix de Weldon]] (1954).
+
File:Morel1920Wythe.jpg|Portrait miniature by Mary Badger Sydnor Morel (c. 1920), after Trumbull. Original at the [http://web.wm.edu/muscarelle/ Muscarelle Museum of Art,] College of William &amp; Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia.
File:SilvetteWythe1979.jpg|W&M Law School portrait (1979).
+
File:Crossman1927Wythe.jpg|Portrait by William H. Crossman (1927), after Trumbull. Original with the [http://www.history.org/ Colonial Williamsburg Foundation,] Williamsburg, Virginia.
 +
File:GeorgeWythePortrait.jpg|Unknown artist (c. 1830-1930), after Longacre. The [http://law.wm.edu/library/ Wolf Law Library,] College of William &amp; Mary Law School, Williamsburg.
 +
File:Saugstad1939Wythe.jpg|Portrait by Eugenie DeLand Saugstad (1939), after Weir. Original with the [http://www.vahistorical.org/ Virginia Historical Society] collections, currently on display at the [http://www.hampton.gov/index.aspx?nid=119 Hampton History Museum,] Hampton, Virginia.
 +
File:DeWeldonWythe1954.jpg|Marble bust by [[wikipedia:Felix de Weldon|Felix de Weldon]] (1954), College of William & Mary Law School.
 +
File:Baker1962Wythe.jpg|Marble bust by [[wikipedia:Bryant Baker|Bryant Baker]] (1962). Original at the [http://www.virginiacapitol.gov/ Virginia State Capitol,] Library of Virginia art collection, Richmond, Virginia.
 +
File:SilvetteWythe1979.jpg|Portrait by David Silvette (1979), [http://law.wm.edu/ College of William &amp; Mary Law School.]
 +
File:Kray2000Wythe.jpg|Bronze statue, by Gordon S. Kray (2000), [http://law.wm.edu/ College of William &amp; Mary Law School.]
 
</gallery>
 
</gallery>
  
 +
==See also==
 +
 +
*[[Bicentennial Postcards]]
 +
 +
==References==
 +
<references />
 +
 +
[[Category:Descriptions of Wythe]]
 
[[Category:Images of Wythe]]
 
[[Category:Images of Wythe]]

Latest revision as of 10:16, 10 August 2022

Sketch of George Wythe, dated April 25, 1791, by Colonel John Trumbull, in Williamsburg. Image courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

In an 1806 letter to the painter, Charles Willson Peale (1741 – 1827), Thomas Jefferson laments that he only has a "shade in profile" remaining of his friend and mentor, George Wythe, "whose portrait was never taken."[1] Jefferson sent Peale a copy of the profile, from which a portrait was made by "filling the out line of your late friend Judge Wythe. Whether you may find it equally striking as to likeness I cannot say, for my remembrance has not furnished me with any Idea's of the form of his features, therefore it is all guess work."[2] The current location of Peale's portrait of Wythe is unknown, and it was probably dispersed with Jefferson's estate after his death.

Despite what Jefferson tells us, there is a portrait identified as Wythe—in miniature—in the collection of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, in Shreveport, Louisiana, attributed to Henry Benbridge (1743 – 1812). A watercolor on ivory, 1½ inches tall × 1¼ wide, the miniature depicts Wythe as a young man. A 1971 text on Benbridge published by the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery observes, however: "Since the history of this portrait does not go back beyond 1941, it is suspect. The technique is not characteristically Benbridge."[3] This statement does not necessarily mean the miniature is not, however, an authentic portrait of Wythe.

Silhouettes were a popular form of portraiture in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-centuries. Wythe's profile in shadow (or "shade," as Jefferson describes it) was taken at least twice. William DuVal describes two silhouettes in a letter to Thomas Jefferson in December, 1806, after Wythe's death: "The profile you have, will shew his appearance at that period of his Life, and the one I have, will exhibit a strong likeness a few years before his untimely Death."[4] The later profile, taken in 1804 by William Bache (1771 – 1845) is described by Jefferson as being "6 or 8 [inches in] length";[5] while the earlier profile is said by DuVal to be "in miniature."[6] Only a copy of the Bache silhouette has survived to the present day, and appears in an album of Bache's work in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to Bache's silhouette, there is a sketch by John Trumbull taken from life in 1791, for his large (18 feet × 12 feet) painting of the Declaration of Independence, which is in the United States Capitol rotunda, in Washington, D.C. Trumbull spent more than thirty years obtaining sketches of as many living signers of the Declaration he could find, and made several versions before the final painting was unveiled in 1818. In addition to the official painting, there is a smaller (38 × 21 inches) study at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, and another version (108 × 72 inches), completed by Trumbull in 1832, at the Wadsworth Atheneum, in Hartford. In all three paintings, Wythe appears at the far left edge of the scene.

Some of these portrayals of Wythe were used as the basis for a series of illustrated, commemorative postcards issued by the United States Postal Service in 1985.

Images of George Wythe

See also

References

  1. Jefferson to Charles Willson Peale, 22 November 1806, The Thomas Jefferson Papers, Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.
  2. Charles Willson Peale to Jefferson, 13 December 1806, The Thomas Jefferson Papers, Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.
  3. Robert G. Stewart, Henry Benbridge (1743-1812): American Portrait Painter, (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1971), 81.
  4. William DuVal to Jefferson, 21 November 1806, The Thomas Jefferson Papers, Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.
  5. Jefferson to Peale, 22 November 1806.
  6. William DuVal to Jefferson, 12 July 1806, The Thomas Jefferson Papers, Series 1, General Correspondence, 1651-1827, Library of Congress.