Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | Licence: Public Domain
Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston | Licence: Public Domain

The Washington Family

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From the Collection


Edward Bell was a member of a London family of engravers working in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Jeremiah Paul was a painter active in Philadelphia, where he was a member of Charles Willson Peale’s academic organization Columbianum. At times it was difficult for artists to make a living solely from painting. Prints after their paintings, particularly of famous subjects, often became an important source of supplementary income. In this case, Paul may have taken his cue from fellow Philadelphia artist Edward Savage who had two years earlier published a successful print after his painting of the same subject. Although the image is rare today, the Paul print had a wide circulation in the nineteenth century, and it served as the prototype for schoolgirl embroideries.

Related examples: New York Public Library. McAlpin Collection (Guadagni 1967. p. 527, fig. 2, where the rediscovered original painting is illustrated as fig. 1); Parke-Bernet Galleries, sale 147, November 30,1939, lot 148; Kennedy Galleries (Kennedy and Sack 1977, no. 104, with reference to Hart no. 765, which is catalogue of Charles H. Hart [Hart 1904]).

Book excerpt: David B. Warren, Michael K. Brown, Elizabeth Ann Coleman, and Emily Ballew Neff. American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection. Houston: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.

Additional Makers: after Jeremiah Paul, Jr. , Philadelphia (American, c. 1778–1820)

Descriptive Medium: Mezzotint, engraving, and roulette printed in colors, with additional watercolor on wove paper

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Courtesy of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

From the Watercolour World