Daniel Webster (1782-1852), Class of 1801

Gilbert Stuart, American, 1755 - 1828

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1817-1820

Oil on wooden panel

Overall: 23 × 19 in. (58.4 × 48.3 cm)

Frame: 33 × 31 in. (83.8 × 78.7 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Presented in memory of Francis Parkman (1898-1990) by his sons -- Henry, Francis Jr., Theodore B., and Samuel -- and by Edward Connery Lathem in tribute to Elizabeth French Lathem

P.992.21

Geography

Place Made: United States, North America

Period

19th century

Object Name

Painting

Research Area

Painting

On view

Inscriptions

[not signed or dated]; inscribed, in graphite, on frame and liner: B 505; inscribed, in chalk, on panel reverse: over [illegible] / DR

Label

Neptune Thurston, a man enslaved as a cooper (barrel maker) in Newport, Rhode Island, taught Gilbert Stuart how to paint. Unlike Stuart, Thurston did not have access to fine paints and canvases. Instead, he drew faces onto the lids of barrels filled with molasses, flour, or alcohol, which were shipped across the Atlantic throughout Britain’s North American and Caribbean colonies. Because Thurston’s artworks were likely encountered by other enslaved people who loaded, unloaded, and opened these barrels filled with commodities, his art was not necessarily intended for white audiences.

Stuart’s sketch of Daniel Webster is similar in shape to Thurston’s portraits sketched on circular barrel lids. Does the size and sketchiness of this painting help us imagine how Neptune Thurston’s barrel paintings inspired a young Gilbert Stuart, the artist best known for his iconic portraits of George Washington?

From the 2023 exhibition Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

WRIT 7.24, Past Imperfect, Cynthia Monroe, Spring 2019

WRIT 7.24, Past Imperfect, Cynthia Monroe, Spring 2019

First Year Student Enrichment Program - Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Anthropology 55.01, Anthropology of Global Health, Anne Sosin, Fall 2023

Art History 40.01, American Art and Identity, Mary Coffey, Fall 2023

Creative Writing 10.02, Writing and Reading Fiction, Katherine Crouch, Fall 2023

Geography 11.01, Qualitative Methods, Emma Colven, Fall 2023

Geography 2.01, Introduction to Human Geography, Coleen Fox, Fall 2023

Geography 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Fall 2023

Exhibition History

American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 9-December 9, 2007.

American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 31, 2019-November 18, 2019.

Exhibited as part of the celebration of the publication of the Webster Papers at Dartmouth College, 1989.

Fred Wilson, So Much Trouble in the World - Believe It or Not!, Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, October 4-December 11, 2005.

Gilbert Stuart, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C., 1880.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 1990-June 22, 1997.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, February 2, 2006-May 8, 2007.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 18, 2013-July 12, 2015.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, September 16, 1997.1997

Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, Israel Sack Gallery and the Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 29, 2023-June 16, 2024.

Memorial Exhibition, Boston, Massachusetts, 1828.

President's Office, Parkhurst, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 1982-July 1987.

President's Office, Parkhurst, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 1966-June 1982.

The Godlike Black Dan, A Selection of Portraits from Life in Commemoration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Daniel Webster, National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., June 4-November 28, 1982.

Publication History

Robert V. Remini, Daniel Webster: The Man and His Time, New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1997, illustration.

Kilburn, Engraved on wood, for Winsor's Memorial History of Boston.

Dartmouth Currents, Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth Life, September 1992, p. 6, ill. p. 6.

James Barber and Frederick Voss, The Godlike Black Dan, A Selection of Portraits from Life in Commemoration of the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Daniel Webster, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982, p. 18-21.

Lawrence Park, Gilbert Stuart: An Illustrated Descriptive List of His Works, New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1926, no. 889, p. 794.

Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club, 1st ed., New York: Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 2001, 546 pp., ill.

Bonnie Carman Harvey, Daniel Webster: "Liberty and Union, Now and Forever", Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2001, 112 pp., ill. p. 38.

Carrie Rebora Barratt and Ellen G. Miles, Gilbert Stuart, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004, ill. p.316.

Barbara Thompson, Fred Wilson, So Much Trouble in the World - Believe It or Not!, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2005.

Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 27, no. 7.

Provenance

1819-1846 in the collection of Mrs. Edmund Dwight (1788-1846) of Boston (Mrs. George Ticknor's sister); in 1846 bequeathed by Mrs. Edmund Dwight to her husband Edmund (1780-1849), in his collection until 1849; in 1849 bequeathed by Edmund Dwight to his daughter Mary Eliot Dwight (1821-1879) (who married Samuel Parkman, M.D., of Boston, in 1849); in 1879 bequeathed by Mrs. Samual Parkman (Mary Eliot Dwight) to her son, Henry Parkman, in his collection until 1924; in 1924 bequeathed by Henry Parkman to his wife, Mary Frances Parkman; bequeathed by Mary Francis Parkman (Mrs. Henry) to her son, Henry Parkman; 1958 bequeathed by Henry Parkman to his brother, Francis Parkman; in 1972 given by Francis Parkman's to his sons, Henry, Ted and Sam; 1992 given to Dartmouth College by Henry, Ted and Sam Parkman.

Catalogue Raisonne

Park, 1926, No. 889

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