Peale, Charles Willson
American, 18th – 19th century, male.
Born 15 April 1741, in Queen Anne's County (Maryland); died 22 February 1827, in Philadelphia.
Painter, engraver, sculptor, writer, inventor. Portraits, landscapes, miniatures.
Charles Willson Peale's fame, is, above all, associated with Philadelphia, the city he moved to with his family in 1776. However, this highly populated and prosperous city had no tradition of portrait painting until Peale's arrival there. As a result, he has been recognised as one of the great figures of late 18th-century art in America, changing American perception, both through his work and the institutions he was involved with or founded. He was as important to Philadelphia as Copley was to Boston, yet his start in life was not auspicious. His father, an English Post Office clerk had been exiled to the American colonies, a convicted embezzler. His family moved to Annapolis, then capital of the province of Maryland, 10 years later, just after his father's death. In Annapolis Charles Peale started his working life doing manual jobs including working as a saddler, though he seems to have painted shop signs and there was little to suggest that he would become the central figure in a great family of artists....