THE WORLD OF SAMUEL MEEKER, MERCHANT OF PHILADELPHIA, AND GILBERT STUART, AMERICAN PORTRAIT ARTIST

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Joseph *Story*...next...Edward *Stow*... and evidence of my early confusion about who the artist could be of SAMUEL MEEKER



... Edward Stow by Gilbert Stuart 1802/3
When telling the tale of Joseph Story and his wife in the posts previous to this one, the next portrait described in Park was Edward Stow, which, although a typical Stuart portrait, has special meaning for me because it was when I first stumbled across this portrait, just by sheer luck on the internet, that I noted the striking similarities between this portrait and my own of Samuel Meeker, and I thought then: "My portrait is not by Peale, but by Stuart!"
So I have decided to show this portrait again, and the 'cheat sheet' printout I made with notes, which so clearly show my confusion of a few years ago. Because I thought my portrait was of Major Meeker (click here for more on the Major), the generational year was completely off as Major Meeker was the 1st cousin of Captain Samuel Meeker, father of the sitter (click here for more on the father of Samuel). And the family thought it was by Peale! But Peale's style, although the artist fit the right time frame for Major Meeker, was just not ....right..... So then I thought the artist was Trumbull. I knew about Stuart, but not knowing the style of his painting, I had ruled him out because at the time that Major Meeker would have been painted, Stuart was AWAY in England!
But yet I thought, look at that same arrangement, the same color schemes, the pose, the clothing, the curtain and sky, the chair, showing a hand and some papers...HOW was Major Meeker painted by Stuart? How to FIT that timeline! But in the end, I finally pieced together that my gt grandmother had made a mistake in her family tree book, that the sitter in the portrait was NOT Major Meeker (who was also a SAMUEL) but in fact an entirely different Meeker, Samuel Meeker, merchant of Philadelphia. (A major clue was finding out about the Stuart portrait of William Meeker which is listed in Park. William had been a business partner in Philadelphia of a "Samuel Meeker", hmmmm I thought.) So in the end it was not the Major, a local militia man who had to sell his farm in Sussex New Jersey because of debt, although famed for having fought in the Battle of the Minisink, but a young man stemming from the same family, who made his fortune in the shipping, banking, and insurance business in early Philadelphia! A generation later!

Even armed with my digital print out of Edward S. by Gilbert Stuart (see 2/27/09 "I knew...then..."), my confusion continued to reign on the identity of the artist who painted Samuel Meeker. After the editor of the Peale papers stated my portrait was not by CW Peale (see 3/4/09 "Misattribution"), I was still not convinced that the portrait was by Stuart, for there was the Problem of the Timeline. At left one can see on my worksheet the doodle "gone from America went to England" -that refers to Stuart. & "timing is off!"
And now that I have the Lawrence Park volumes (listing a large number of Stuart portraits), I see that the portrait was done in 1802/3... So the fit is super/unquestionable, as I have determined that the portrait of Samuel Meeker was done in 1803. (More on why/how I figured this date, later.)
~
From Lawrence Park:
~
Edward Stow 1768-1847
A son of Edward and Mary (Belcher) Stow of Boston, but was born in New York City. He married, in 1793, Anna Brewer Peck, and lived for some years in Philadelphia. It was there that he met Gilbert Stuart and his wife and a great friendship ensued. In 1804 he returned to Boston, and from 1813 until shortly before his death, he was clerk or secretary of the new England Mississippi Land Company.
~
~

6 comments:

Yamin said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

http://toddlergirls.net

emikk said...

You have demonstrated, beautifully i must add, how with new information one can radically change one's views and conclusions!

Einbildungskraft said...

Well thankyou Ms Lucy, I like little bits of feedback!

Einbildungskraft said...

and thank YOU Mr Eric, for your support that I know I can always count on!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

the recipe is just a basic lasagna....

actually it is on the back of the box...the only thing special is the cast iron skillet

thanks for stopping by farmhouse

always good to see a friend

kary
xxx

Rouchswalwe said...

Those same first names wreak havoc, don't they! I can't tell you how many Johanns and Margaretes are in my family tree. And the Germans don't use "junior."

 
Site Meter