Skip to main content

Washington Irving and his Literary Friends at Sunnyside

Artist
Christian Schussele, 16 Apr 1824 - 1879
Designer
Felix Octavius Carr Darley, 23 Jun 1822 - 27 Mar 1888
Sitter
Washington Irving, 3 Apr 1783 - 28 Nov 1859
Henry Theodore Tuckerman, 1813 - 1871
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., 29 Aug 1809 - 7 Oct 1894
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 4 Jul 1804 - 19 May 1864
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 27 Feb 1807 - 24 Mar 1882
Nathaniel Parker Willis, 20 Jan 1806 - 20 Jan 1867
James Kirke Paulding, 22 Aug 1778 - 6 Apr 1860
William Cullen Bryant, 3 Nov 1794 - 12 Jun 1878
John Pendleton Kennedy, 25 Oct 1795 - 18 Aug 1870
William Gilmore Simms, 17 Apr 1806 - 11 Jun 1870
Fitz-Greene Halleck, 8 Jul 1790 - 19 Nov 1867
William Hickling Prescott, 4 May 1796 - 28 Jan 1859
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 25 May 1803 - 27 Apr 1882
James Fenimore Cooper, 15 Sep 1789 - 14 Sep 1851
George Bancroft, 3 Oct 1800 - 17 Jan 1891
Date
1864
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Sight: 134.6 x 199.4 x 3.8cm (53 x 78 1/2 x 1 1/2")
Frame: 158.8 x 224.8 x 14cm (62 1/2 x 88 1/2 x 5 1/2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.82.147
Exhibition Label
The artists Christian Schussele and Felix Darley created this apocryphal gathering of leading writers at Sunnyside, Washington Irving's Hudson River home, to honor the literary culture created by America's founding generation of writers. By making Irving the center of the image, the artists both glorify his career and at the same time celebrate the national culture. But in doing so, they made the writers too much alike. As a New York critic wrote, "If [Irving] could have caught a glimpse of such a gathering . . . [he] would have dashed out of doors." Nonetheless, the group portrait is an important summing up of an era in which American literature found its voice and created a vigorous national culture that a new generation-Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane-would later enhance.
Provenance
(Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc.); purchased 1982 NPG
According to Hirschl & Adler, prior provenance was: (Williams and Everett, Boston); private collection; (Williams and Everett); (The Casson Galleries, Boston); Walter Parker, Manchester, N.H.; Mrs. Norman F. Milne, Manchester, N.H. Williams and Everett was a Boston gallery fl. 1855-1907.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 120