The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera
5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, Delaware 19735
Telephone: 302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883
OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
Creator: Peale family
Acc. No.: [various – see detailed description]
Quantity: 2 boxes
Location: 9 C 3
well-known family of American born painters was headed by Charles Willson Peale
(1741-1827) and his younger brother, James (1749-1831). Many of their sons and daughters became
prominent artists, both in
Willson Peale was born in 1741 in Queen Anne’s County,
By the start
of the American Revolution, Charles Willson was active in politics and the
military. He served as captain of the
volunteers at the Battle of Trenton, and it was during this service that he met
and painted many heroes of the war, including George Washington, whom he
ultimately painted fourteen times. After the war, his interest in politics
continued, and in 1779, he became a representative for
politics, Charles Willson was interested in promoting the fine arts and natural
history. In 1794, he established a
short-lived art association called “The Columbian,” and in 1805 became one of
the founding members of the
Charles Willson was married three times, first to Rachel Brewer, then to Elizabeth DePeyster, and finally to Hannah Moore. He fathered seventeen children before his death in 1827.
Peale followed the footsteps of his father.
Besides his paintings Rembrandt Peale was noted for being a founding member of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1805, a founding member of the National Academy of Design in 1826, and one of the first artists to produce lithographs, experimenting with the process through the Pendleton Brothers of Boston as early as 1826. In his later years, Rembrandt wrote articles for periodicals, texts on painting technique, and lectured on various topics, including his father and the other portrait painters of George Washington.
Rubens Peale was Rembrandt’s younger brother. As a painter, he was noted for his still life
and animal paintings, but his weak eyes prevented him from a long career as a
professional artist. Instead, Rubens
worked as the manager of the
SCOPE AND CONTENT
This collection contains original documents and approximately 70 historic black and white photographs of paintings of and by Peale family members. Original documents are from Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, and Rubens Peale. Most documents are business letters concerning exhibits, transportation of paintings, and works in progress. Photostats of two letters from Charles Willson Peale to Thomas Jefferson and a copy of Practical Treatise on Painting in Oil Colors (London: B. and J. White, 1795) annotated by Rembrandt Peale, are included. Of particular interest is a manuscript in Rembrandt Peale's hand of his lecture entitled "Washington and his Portraits." In this lecture, delivered several times between 1858-1860, Rembrandt Peale described George Washington and the circumstances in which various artists, including himself and his father, painted him.
The materials are arranged by the name of the person to
whom they pertain, either Charles Willson, Rembrandt, or Rubens Peale. Oversize materials are in
LANGUAGE OF MATERIALS
The materials are in English.
RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS
Collection is open to the public. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Materials are from various sources.
List of related materials is at end of finding aid. As well, check WinterCat for books by or about members of the Peale family.
Washington, George, 1732-1799.
Peale, James, 1749-1831.
Peale, Titian Ramsay, 1799-1885.
Peale, Sarah Miriam, 1800-1885.
Peale, James, 1789-1876.
Peale, Margaretta Angelica, 1795-1882.
Peale, Mary Jane, 1827-1902.
Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826.
Peale, Charles Willson, 1741-1827.
Peale, Rembrandt, 1778-1860.
Peale, Reubens, 1784-1865.
Natural history museums.
Painting - Prices.
Portrait painting, American.
History in art.
Photography of painting.
Artists - Correspondence.
Art auctions - Catalogs.
Painting - Technique.
Painting - History.
Painting - Reproductions.
Lectures and lecturing.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION
72x42 Historic photographs of portraits of Charles Willson, Rembrandt, Rubens, James,
Sarah, Martha, Elizabeth and her husband, William Augustus Patterson, Sybilla
Peale and her husband, Andrew Summers, Angelica Peale Robinson, Margaret
Peale (wife of Charles Willson),
of Charles Willson), Hannah Moore Peale (third wife of Charles Willson),
Margaret Francis Shippen, and Edward Shippen, among others. (one oversized
of an unidentified man, is in
Charles Willson Peale:
65x43 Letter. To Titian
Peale from Charles Willson Peale, Belfield,
To William Paca from Charles Willson Peale,
Ph 971 Photocopies of Benjamin Rush account books with entries for payment of
Ph 972 portraits by Charles Willson Peale, 1785, 1795. (Trex no. 4748-4749)
Ph 1082 Photostats of 2 letters.
To Thomas Jefferson from Charles Willson Peale, [
To Tristram Coffin from Rembrandt Peale,
65x21.1 Letter. To Colonel Stockholm from Rembrandt Peale,
65x21.2 Letter. To Messrs. Cary and Lea from Rembrandt Peale, n.d. Describes a book which he wrote that included sketches. (Trex no. 1877)
68x16.1 Letter. To Dear Madam from Rembrandt Peale, n.d. Discusses an unidentified work in progress. (Trex no. 1287)
71x5 Letter. To Theodore Dwight from Rembrandt Peale, n.d. Advertises opening of his portrait room. (Trex no. 3510)
75x178 Letter. To G.H. Moore from Rembrandt Peale,
76x118 Letter. To Dear Sir from Rembrandt Peale,
78x127 Letter. To Benson Lossing from Harriet Peale (Mrs.
80x20 Practical Treatise on Painting in Oil
[note: this volume is housed in
12x124 “Portrait of Washington,” a pamphlet with letters of testifying to the accuracy of Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of Washington; last page is an advertisement for his lithograph of the portrait. [note: this pamphlet has a record in WinterCat]
Ph 1037 Photostats. Auction
catalog of “Original Paintings by the Late Rembrandt Peale,”
[no number] Newspaper clipping about convalescence of Rembrandt Peale in his 83d year.
66x138 Letter. To Charles Peale from Rubens Peale,
and warrant of attorney. Charles Willson
Peale to Edward Stiles for $800.00.
74x131 “List of names on museum petition, alphabetically arranged,” n.d. This was found in the book Peale’s Museum Gallery of Oil Paintings … Catalogue of the National Portrait and Historical Gallery, …, which is located in the Rare Book stacks.
80x20 Practical Treatise on Painting in Oil-Colors [see under Rembrandt Peale for full description]
84x49a-b a phrenology lecture in the hand of Rembrandt Peale, discussing the painting “Madonna della Seggiola” and a picture by Greuze (from the context of the lecture, it is obvious that Peale was showing his audience copies of these paintings), n.d. but probably after 1829
Mic. 884 Scrapbook on the Peale family collected by Coleman and Charles Mills. Contains clippings, genealogical materials, and correspondence about the Peale family. Original is privately owned.
Mic. 915 Peale family sketchbooks, 1786-1864. Includes drawings of animals, landscapes,
etc. Originals owned by American
Mic. 2051 Rembrandt Peale’s Notes of the Painting Room. Includes instructions for
painting. Original in the Sartain Collection, volume 24, owned by the Historical
Col. 252 a collection of
diaries by John Cogdell that describe the
Col. 315 a scrapbook of American painters created by Thomas Clarke. It contains photos and research correspondence. (Trex no. 2755)
RBR ND237.P35C* Miller, Lillian B., ed. The Collected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and
a collection of microfiche that includes a printed guide and index
containing family history.
RBR N 674 T45* Peale, Charles Willson. Peale’s Museum Gallery of Oil Paintings
… Catalogue of the National Portrait and Historical Gallery, illustrative
of American History … formerly belonging to Peale’s Museum …
catalog for the auction held