54.3 x 38.7 x 2.5cm (21 3/8 x 15 1/4 x 1"), Stretcher
66 x 50.8 x 6.7cm (26 x 20 x 2 5/8"), Frame
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
When the venerable John Marshall posed for William James Hubard-a silhouette artist lately turned to oil painting-he had been chief justice of the United States for some three decades. The momentous decisions firmly establishing the judiciary as a coequal branch of the government were now behind him. Moving into his late seventies, Marshall contemplated retirement, a time when he would "read nothing but novels and poetry," but a fear that President Andrew Jackson would appoint a successor who would tear the Constitution to shreds had stayed his resignation. Jackson would outlast him, but Marshall's legacy-embodying a strong nationalism and respect for property rights-shaped the future of the country. The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia cracked when tolling his death.
Mrs. Joan Thomas Barthel, Upperco, Maryland; purchased 1974 NPG