Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Henry Clay 1777 - 1852, painted for his election campaign, 1842 1842

John Neagle 

Portrait of Henry Clay 1777 - 1852, painted for his election campaign, 1842, John Neagle
Oil on canvas
19th Century
28 x 22 inches 71.1 x 55.9 cm
Colonel Clayton McMichael, Philadelphia By family descent to Norton McMichael, Pennsylvannia Purchased from an agent of the family 1993
The Papers of Henry Clay, 1959-, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Vol.IX, p.880
Engraved 843 John Sartain (1808-97) 1844 Albert Newsam (1809-64) 1844 William Warner Jr. (c.1813-48)
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In 1842 the National Clay Club of Philadelphia commissioned the eminent portrait painter John Neagle to produce a full-length portrait of its patron, Henry Clay. The motivation behind the commission was the critical need to produce an image of the great politician which could be used in the Presidential election campaign of 1842-44. Previous attempts at a likeness had proved unsatisfactory, because as Harriet Martineau commented, No one has succeeded in catching the subtile (sic) expression of placid kindness, mingled with astuteness, which becomes visible to the eyes of those who are in daily intercourse with him.(l) Neagle attracted the best patronage in Philadelphia and was considered one of the finest portrait painters of the day, being likened in ability to Gilbert Stuart.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.