John Watts

Robert Ball Hughes American
Cast by E. Gruet French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

Hughes apparently received a commission to execute a portrait of John Watts soon after his arrival in New York in 1829. Watts (1749–1836), a prominent New York leader, had been speaker of the New York State Assembly as well as a member of Congress and the first judge for Westchester County. It seems likely that it was the bust of Watts that Hughes exhibited at the 1830 annual exhibition of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, listing it only as “An Eminent Member of the New York Bar.” In early 1906 Watt’s grandson General John Watts de Peyster offered to give the Metropolitan Museum the plaster bust of Watts, or a bronze cast of it. The museum selected a bronze that had been cast in Paris.

John Watts, Robert Ball Hughes (1806–1868), Bronze, American

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