41 of 57

Charles Willson Peale
Mrs. James Smith and Grandson
1776
oil
36 3/8 x 29 1/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Levering Smith, Jr. and museum purchase



Charles Willson Peale painted this intimate portrait in Philadelphia two months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The young boy, Campbell Smith, named for his grandfather, holds The Art of Speaking, a manual of rhetoric and oratorical study. Campbell rests his finger on the phrase “to be or not to be” from Hamlet's soliloquy, possibly referring to family aspirations or revolutionary ideals.