James Reid Lambdin

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Barry Bingham, Sr.
Name
James Reid Lambdin
Also Known as
James R. Lambdin
born Pittsburgh, PA 1807-died KY 1889
Active in
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationalities
U.S. States
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI
Luce Artist Biography

James Reid Lambdin wanted to be an artist from the age of seven, and worked hard to realize his dream. He ultimately painted every U.S. president from John Quincy Adams to James A. Garfield. In 1828 he established the first museum west of the Allegheny Mountains, in Pittsburgh, called the Museum of National History and Gallery of Paintings. It was described as “the only specimen of taste and amusement in the city.” By 1832, Lambdin had moved his family and his museum to Louisville, Kentucky, and was traveling around the country for commissions. More than a decade later he was living in Philadelphia, where he became the director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and professor of fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania. He died on a train in Kentucky, en route to his home in Philadelphia.