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    Sale 2003

    Important American Paintings, Drawings And Sculpture

    21 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 103

    Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)

    John Beale Bordley

    Price Realised  


    Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
    John Beale Bordley
    signed with conjoined initials and dated 'C WPeale/Painted 1790' (lower left)
    oil on canvas laid down on board
    25¾ x 19¾ in. (65.4 x 50.2 cm.)

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    James Beale Bordley (1727-1804) was a lifelong friend and patron of Charles Willson Peale. The two met as boys when Bordley attended the Kent County school near Chestertown, Maryland, where Peale's father was headmaster. By the time that the present work was painted in 1790, Bordley was an accomplished political and agricultural figure, "After studying law in Annapolis, Bordley divided his time between two major pursuits. In Baltimore and Annapolis, he was appointed to increasingly important political posts, including judge of the Provincial Court of Maryland and, from 1767 to 1776, judge of the Admiralty; however, farming endeavors on lands he had inherited on Gunpowder River, near Baltimore, occupied more and more of his interest. In 1770 Bordley moved to Wye Island on the Eastern Shore and for the next twenty years devoted himself to the creation of a self-supporting farm. In 1785 he was instrumental in bringing about the formation of the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture; he was also the author of various publications on farming." (J. Barnitz, et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection, vol. II, Art of the Western Hemisphere: American Paintings, Tapestries and Sculpture, New York, 1992, p. 15)

    Peale painted a full-length portrait of Bordley in 1770, which is currently in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. There is another bust-length portrait from 1790 that is in the collection of the New-York Historical Society.


    Elizabeth Bordley Gibson, daughter of John Beale Bordley.
    Edward Shippen, nephew of the above, until 1904.
    Mrs. Roland S. Morris, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, granddaughter of the above.
    Sarah Morris Machold and Edward Shippen Morris, daughter and son of the above, until 1950.
    M. Knoedler & Co., New York, until 1952.
    Collection of Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller, New York.
    Estate of Margaret McGrath Rockefeller.
    By descent to the present owner.

    Pre-Lot Text



    C.C. Sellers, The Artist of the Revolution: The Early Life of Charles Willson Peale, Hebron, Connecticut, 1939, opp. p. 278, illustrated.
    Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1947, vol. XXIII, pt. I, p. 277, opp. p. 278, illustrated.
    T. Bolton, "Charles Willson Peale: The First Catalogue of His Portraits in Oils and Miniature," Art Quarterly, supplement to vol. II, Autumn 1939, p. 419.
    F.S. McGrath, The Pillars of Maryland, Richmond, Virginia, 1950, opp. p. 389, illustrated.
    C.C. Sellers, Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale, Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, vol. XLII, pt. I, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1952, p. 236, no. 63, 234, illustrated.
    C.C. Sellers, Charles Willson Peale, New York, 1969, p. 236.
    L.B. Miller, ed., The Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and His Family, New Haven, Connecticut, 1983, p. 579, n68, p. 593, n15.
    J. Barnitz, et al., The David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection, vol. II, Art of the Western Hemisphere: American Paintings, Tapestries and Sculpture, New York, 1992, pp. 14-17, illustrated.


    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Loan Exhibition of Historical Portraits, December 1, 1887-January 15, 1888, no. 50.