PASSING into the Grand Central Hall (B) and looking towards the farther left hand corner is seen the original portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Charles Stuart, in 1796, and the only existing one from life-excepting the unfinished picture in the Boston Athenaeum. It was painted to order of Mrs. Bingham, for presentation to Lord Lansdowne, and has remained in England until the present year, when it was loaned by J. Delaware Lewis, Esq., the owner, expressly for the Centennial Exhibition. It is regarded as a faithful likeness of the "Father of his Country." Just to the left of this painting is Central Gallery, west, where the catalogue numbers of the United States exhibits begin. Here are found works by artists who have been distinguished in the earlier history of our country.
The early school of American art is represented by John Smybert, whose portrait of Bishop Berkeley (No. 92) gives evidence of fidelity to the subject. John Singleton Copley, who is said to have been a pupil of Smybert, was the first American artist who attained any great fame. His portraits of John Adams (No. 85), of Mr. T. Boylston (No. 91), and of Mrs. Boylston (No. 83) indicate that he possessed talents of a high order of excellence.
Of all our early painters, the name of Gilbert Stuart is undoubtedly best known to the majority of the American people. His portrait of George Washington (No. 1228a) which hangs in Gallery B, to the right of Central Gallery, west, stamps the artist as a great painter. The head is a copy of the unfinished study in the Boston Athenaeum, and is regarded by connoisseurs as remarkably faithful. In Central Gallery, west, are several portraits by Stuart (Nos. 52, 75, 87 and 93), presenting the peculiar pink and white complexions for which his works are noted. Engravings of No. 1228a, previously mentioned, have been scattered broadcast over the land.
Washington Allston is represented by No. 60, A landscape; No. 77, Portrait of himself when young; No. 88, A female head; and No. 86, "Spalatro's Vision." Allston was a native of South Carolina, being a son of Governor Allston. He was born in 1779. About 1800 he went to Europe, where he remained until his return to America, in 1809. From that period until his death, in 1843, he executed a number of pieces which stamped his genius as eminent for exalted imagination and boldness in execution. It may not be generally known that Professor S. F. B. Morse, of telegraphic fame, was a painter of considerable ability, as Nos. 80, 84 and 137 will duly attest. He was the son of a clergyman of Charlestown, Massachusetts, and was born A. D. 1791. After graduating at Yale College he went to London to study under West. Here he gave attention to sculpture as well as painting. In 1824 he aided at New York in the formation of a society which grew into the "National Academy of Design," of which he became the President. His subsequent life was mainly devoted to the literature rather than the practice of his profession, as a professor in the University of New York, until his inventive talent turned his studies into another channel.
While on the subject of portraits, it would be well to remark No. la, by Healy, of Chicago; No. 8, by Hicks, of N. Y.; No.15, by Pine, of Chicago; No. 21, by Baker, of N. Y.; Nos. 34 and 45, by Huntington, of N. Y.; Nos. 59 and 112, by Durand, of N. Y.; and No. 74, by Twibill (deceased).
The marine views in Central Gallery are somewhat numerous. One of the most effective is No. 18, by J. Hamilton, Philadelphia, entitled "Break, break, break, on thy cold stones, O Sea." No. 25, "Moonrise and Sunset," by De Haas, N. Y., is a good example of that well-known artist's style. J. F. Kensett (deceased) is represented by No. 17, "Narragansett Coast." S. R. Gifford, N. Y., exhibits four pictures: No. 23, "Bronx River;" No. 24, '' On the Nile;" No. 27, "Pallauza Lago Maggiore," and No. 73, "Lake Geneva;" all worthy of note. No. 56 is by Thomas Birch (deceased). Thompson, of N. Y., presents No. 67, "On the Sands, East Hampton, L. I.," and Ed ward Moran, N. Y., is represented by No. 115, "The Hawk's Nest," and No. 125, "Minot Ledge Light."
Among the landscapes deserving attention are No. 9, "Coming Storm," and No. 97, "Glimpse of the Adirondacks," by R W. Hubbard, N. Y.; No. 35, "The Grove in the Heath," by Kruseman Von Elten, N. Y.; No. 39,"Old Bonchurch," Isle of Wight, by J. F. Cropsey, N. Y.; No. 47, "View near Northampton," by J. F. Kensett (deceased); No. 58, "Returning to the Fold, "by C. H. Miller, N. Y.; No. 102, "Solitude," by A. Parton, N. Y. ; Nos. 40 and 100, "Scenery on the Housatonic," by David Johnson, N. Y.; No. 109, "A Home by the Sea," by W. Whittredge, N. Y.; No. 118, "The Old Kentucky Home," by Eastman Johnson, N. Y. ; No. 124, "Egyptian Fountain," by R. Swain Gifford, N. Y.; No. 128, "October Afternoon," by J. McEntee, N. Y.; and No. 131, "Spring," by R. Gignoux, N. Y.
Among the genre pictures there are several possessing merit. No. 46, "Young Franklin," by E. Wood Perry, N. Y.; No. 50, "The Cabinet," by S. B. Waugh, Philadelphia; No. 49, "The Chess Players,"; by Thomas Eakins, Philadelphia; No. 57, "The Antiquary," by Edwin White, N. Y.; No. 71, "The Strayed Masquers," by E. Benson, N. Y.; No. 72, "What the Sea Says," by Eastman Johnson, N. Y.; No. 81, "Card Players," by R. C. Woodville (deceased); No. 94, "Treasure Trove," by E. H. Blashfield, Brooklyn, N. Y.; No. 123, "Tantalizing," by W. A. Shade, N. Y.; and No. 129, "Solitaire," by S. J. Guy, N. Y.
Before leaving this gallery, attention is called to No. 53, "Aphrodite," by H. A. Loop, N. Y.; No. 63, "Evening," by S. J. Guy, N. Y.; two panels, Nos. 64 and 65, by J. C. Thorn, N. Y.; and No. 79, "The Model from Cadore," by H. Peters Gray, N. Y.
Our course is now directed into Gallery C, upon entering which, and turning to the left, the great painting of the "Battle of Gettysburg," No. 168, by P. F.Rothermel, attracts the gaze. It is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and was purchased at a cost of $25,000. No. 216, "Amy Robsart Interceding for Leicester," is also by the same artist.
Following the enumeration as it appears on the immediate left, upon entering we find in No. 147 an admirable portrait of his daughter, by Thomas Sully (deceased), and in No. 199 a portrait of his wife. Sully, a native of England, born in 1783, was brought at the age of nine years to Charleston) S. C. In 1809 he came to Philadelphia and executed, amongst other pictures, the historical painting of "Washington Crossing the Delaware." While on a visit to England he painted a portrait of Queen Victoria, which is now in the possession of the St. George's Society, of Philadelphia. No. 154 is a portrait of Shakespeare after the death mask, by William Page, N. y.; No. 202, A portrait, by Anna M. Lea, of Philadelphia, appears worthy of special mention; No. 255, Portrait, "Dr. Cheesman," is by C. L. Elliott (deceased).
John Vanderlyn (deceased) is represented by his great mythological masterpiece, No. 150, "Ariadne," which created quite a sensation at the time of its first exhibition. He was born in Kingston, N. Y., A. D. 1776, and studied under Stuart. During his sojourn in Europe, from 1803 to 1815, the above-named painting of "Ariadne" was produced. He also executed the "Landing of Columbus," which is in one of the panels of the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington.
Gallery C contains paintings of unusual interest. No. 157, "The First Battle of the Puritans won by Miles Standish," is by Mrs. I. Robinson Morrell, Paris; No. 160, "The Moorish Merchant," by H. H. Moore,N. Y., who is a deaf mute; No. 169, "Don't Touch," by J. W. Champney, Boston; No. 175, "Elaine," by T.E. Rosenthal, Munich, known as the San Francisco newsboy; No. 200, "The Apple of Discord," by H. Peters Gray, N. Y., Titianesque in style. Occupying the central position on the south wall is No. 196, " The Mount of the Holy Cross," by Thomas Moran, Newark, N. J. ; No. 201, "Twilight on the Shawangunk Mountains," by W. Whittredge, N. Y.; No. 208, "Lake in the Woods," by G. H. Smillie, N. Y.; No. 209, "Sterling Castle," by A. Parton, N. Y. A well-known picture, No. 229, "The Iconoclast," by E. Leutze (deceased), is on the west wall; No. 228, " Sentinel Rock," by H. Herzog, Philadelphia; No. 236, ''A Summer Memory of Berkshire;" No. 238, "Nubian Story-teller/ by F. A. Bridgeman, N. Y.; No. 246, "The Duck's Breakfast," by 'V. H. Lippincott, Philadelphia; No. 249, "The Return of the Herd," a powerful picture, by Peter Moran, Philadelphia; No. 252, "The Iron-worker," by C. Schussele,Philadelphia; No. 257, "Twilight," by P. Weber, Philadelphia; No. 260, "The Reproof,"; by Miss Emily Sartain, Philadelphia; and No. 269, "My Grandmother," by C. C. Markham, N. Y.