Titian Ramsay Peale II, 17 Nov 1799 - 13 Mar 1885
Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin, 12 Mar 1770 - 23 Jun 1852
Charles Willson Peale, 15 Apr 1741 - 22 Feb 1827
Graphite on paper
Sheet: 13.8 x 11.5 cm (5 7/16 x 4 1/2")
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Born Queen Anne’s County, Maryland
This meticulously rendered portrait depicts the accomplished artist, naturalist, engineer, and museum-founder Charles Willson Peale. Committed to the Revolutionary cause, Peale, who fought alongside George Washington, painted more than a thousand portraits of major American political and cultural figures. Peale’s museum, which included the skeleton of a mastodon he helped exhume, attained scientific recognition and international fame. Late in life, Peale even became a dentist, pioneering in America the use of porcelain for false teeth.
The delicate details of this drawing were copied from an 1807 profile engraving by Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin. The artist is most likely Peale’s youngest son Titian Ramsay Peale II (1799–1885). Like his siblings, Titian expanded upon the scientific and artistic pursuits of his father and, as a budding naturalist and illustrator, demonstrates here the close observation and precise hatching that would characterize his ornithological and entomological sketches.