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Charles Willson Peale--James Peale, 1822

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"Charles Willson Peale was the leading portrait painter in America for many years. He taught painting to several generations of his family and, in 1795, helped to establish a small art school in Philadelphia. The development of a science museum absorbed his middle years, but later in
life he returned to painting. At age eighty-one he produced this affectionate portrait of his brother, James, showing the retired miniaturist gazing fondly at a portrait miniature of Rembrandt Peale’s oldest daughter, Rosalba, painted by Charles's daughter, Anna."


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WOW, you all said it. Thanks Gayle and all.


Oh yes, Andy. Reach out and feel the sleeve of his coat, and look at that mica lampshade; he really has it down pat.

Thanks, Nev, for that additional information.


An excerpt from the site JSTOR:-

.....he painted another portrait which has become famous as "The Lamplight Portrait". This showed his brother James Peale, the miniature and still-life painter, seated at a table by the light of a lamp. The artist described the portrait in a letter to his son Rembrandt, December 4, 1822: "the picture which I painted of my brother," he said "is a candlelight piece. He is looking at a miniature picture by the light of a Argand lamp. The brightest light is on the end of his nose downward, the forehead has only the light through the shade of the lamp. A miniature palette and pencil on the table. This to show that he is a painter." "On the shade of the lamp," he went on to say, "I shall put that he served in the Battle of Long Island, White Plains, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown and at Monmouth. You know it is common to ornament the shades of lamps with English coat-of-arms. I think this is noting that my brother has deserved well of his country." (The list of actions omits Princeton although James Peale was certainly with the army there also.) Fortunately for the picture, Peale's artistic good sense asserted itself and the inscription was omitted. Only the ribbon of the Order of the Cincinatti on the lapel of the coat indicates the days when James Peale had served as officer of the Maryland Line in the Army of the Revolution.

Thanks, Gayle.
And I totally agree with Bill and Andy here - a superb painting.


Great observation Bill, he really does capture the moment doesn't he? The subtleties abound in this portrait, well beyond the personal warmth that it show, like the wallpaper patter and the exquisitely done grain of the table (it really LOOKS like polished, finished wood!). Beautiful, simply beautiful. Thanks Gayle.


You're welcome, Bill, and such a nice way to describe what we're seeing. Thank you! :-)


Wow, this is an affectionate portrait, and extremely well executed, at that. I can't believe how well he's captured the intimate lighting--how the rays below the edge of the shade fall on James's face and reflect off the table. Very nicely done! Thank you, Gayle.