Skip to main content

John Brown

Artist
Augustus Washington, 1820/1 - 1875
Sitter
John Brown, 9 May 1800 - 2 Dec 1859
Date
c. 1846-1847
Type
Photograph
Medium
Quarter-plate daguerreotype
Dimensions
Case Open: 11.4 x 19.7 x 1.1cm (4 1/2 x 7 3/4 x 7/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; purchased with major acquisition funds and with funds donated by Betty Adler Schermer in honor of her great-grandfather, August M. Bondi
Object number
NPG.96.123
Exhibition Label
The earliest known likeness of radical abolitionist John Brown, this portrait was made by pioneering African American daguerreotypist and fellow abolitionist Augustus Washington. In a pose that dramatizes his antislavery activism, Brown stands with one hand raised as if repeating his public pledge to dedicate his life to the destruction of slavery. With his other hand, he grasps what is believed to be the standard of his "Subterranean Pass Way"-the militant alternative to the Underground Railroad that Brown sought to establish in the Allegheny Mountains more than a decade before his ill-fated raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Place
United States\Connecticut\Hartford\Hartford