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Faking It Symposium: Of Spooks, Proofs, and Truths

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Daniel Webster

Southworth and Hawes (American, active 1843–1863)

Artist:
Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)
Artist:
Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, Wayland, Massachusetts 1808–1901 Crawford Notch, New Hampshire)
Date:
ca. 1850
Medium:
Daguerreotype
Dimensions:
21.5 x 16.6 cm (8 7/16 x 6 9/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937
Accession Number:
37.14.2
  • Description

    Daniel Webster (1782-1852) was one of nineteenth-century America's most imposing figures, a statesman and orator of staggering power and erudition. He sat for this portrait just one month before his controversial speech in support of the Compromise of 1850, which allowed fugitive slaves to be returned to their owners, a stance which subsequently contributed to Webster's political downfall. Southworth & Hawes' monumental depiction seems to embody Carlyle's opinion that "as a logic fencer, advocate, or parliamentary Hercules, one would incline to back [Webster] at first sight against all the extant world."

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in pencil, verso: "Original"

    Marking: Hallmark TR: Doublé / J.P. [see Spirit of Fact #9, p. 153]

  • Provenance

    Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes; [Holman's Print Shop, Boston]; I.N. Phelps Stokes, New York

  • Notes

    In interviews later in life, Josiah Hawes always maintained that Webster posed for this portrait before delivering his Revere House speech. The date repeated in the literature is April 22, 1850. The actual date of the speech was April 22, 1851. Webster had been denied the use of Faneuil Hall for a meeting, so the enraged Secratery of State spoke from his hotel balcony at the Revere House, not far from the Southworth & Hawes studio. The famous speech defended Webster's compromise position on the Fugitive Slave Law , and included the famous line "Union, union, union-Now and forever!"

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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