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Man with Gold Pencil

ca. 1850 Attributed to Prior-Hamblen School oil on canvas 27 1/4 x 22 1/4 in. (69.1 x 56.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.133 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

Sturtevant Hamblin and William Matthew Prior charged their patrons higher prices for their portraits according to the amount of shading and detail they requested. The artists would have charged a high price for this portrait, since they included the pleats in the gentleman’s shirt and the shadows around the cleft of his chin. The gold pencil, which he wears around his neck, marks this sitter as a man of letters.


Portrait male - unidentified - bust


folk art

paint - oil

fabric - canvas