Wednesday, February 3, 2016

More evidence that Ruggles is a Stuart! and two other possible Stuarts...?

When determining if a portrait is in fact done by our master Gilbert Stuart, particularly when it is not mentioned in the Lawrence Park volumes (a set of 4 large books two of which provide black and white photographs of the portraits and two which give written descriptions and short bios), it helps to cement the attribution when the evidence piles up.
On April 27 I did a post on the individual Ruggles Whiting [click on this link], a writer [Elisha L. President Dover Historical society] wrote to me that he thought this portrait was a genuine Stuart.  I also thought it to be a genuine Stuart.

Elisha has found a copy of the will, and this portrait is mentioned as being "taken by Gilbert Stuart" [note the language, similar to photography].  This can be considered solid evidence!

"In researching Ruggles Whiting I recently found a copy of his will, written in 1816 and probated in 1827.  Page 3 contains the following statement:
“It is my will, and I do hereby give and bequeath to my beloved son Lucius R. Whiting my library, charts, globes, my wardrobe including my watch and all wearing apparel, my chess board and best set of chessmen, my portrait of myself taken by Gilbert Stuart Esq., my portrait of Ralph I. Reed, taken by the same artist before his decease, and all my sporting apparatus of every kind.”

Elisha points out that this will indicates that Ruggles owned another Stuart, and indeed a third Stuart. From the will: "“It is my will and I give and bequeath to the Government of the United States, my original portrait of Jacob Perkins Esquire of Newburyport, the great mechanical inventor, taken by Gilbert Stuart Esq. the celebrated American artist, to be placed in such part of the National Buildings, in the City of Washington, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States for the time being shall order and direct.”

Thus there should be a Stuart portrait of "Ralph Reed", and of "Jacob Perkins".  I will investigate this further~
The fact that Ruggles now seems to own THREE Stuart portraits, also is indirect evidence that the Ruggles portrait is a genuine Stuart, as Elisha pointed out in his note to me.
Thankyou, super sleuthing!
Also of note...this merchant was intellectual (library, globes, chess) and atheletic!

1 comment:

Bruce Trewin said...

Lawrence Parks lists seven Perkins portraits, but no Jacob. I wonder if he may have been listed as James by error, as there are two James Perkins. He also has several Reeds, alas no Ralph.

By the way, are you also related to the William Meeker (described below) in Park's Vol. II?


THE present owner of this portrait was told at the time of its pur-
chase that WiUiam Meeker was a member of the London firm of
Meeker & Denman, shipping agents, and that he died en route to New
Orleans in 1812.

Canvas, 28/^ x 23 34 inches. Bust, half-way to the right, with his light brown
eyes directed to the spectator. His brown hair is brushed back, with curls in the
neck, and tied with a black queue bow. He wears a dark blue, or blue-black, coat
with small brass buttons; a very high white neckcloth and a ruffled shirt, with a bit
of a white waistcoat showing. His complexion is ruddy and he wears small side-
whiskers. The background is plain, of greenish-olive tones, becoming warm brown
in the lower right corner.

This portrait is owned by David Z. Norton, Esq., of Cleveland, Ohio, who pur-
chased it about twenty-five years ago.

Exhibited at "Cleveland Art Loan Exhibition," Cleveland, 1913, No. i6oa.
Not listed in Mason. '

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