This is the third of several articles telling the amazing stories about the people and history of the Webb Family paintings that are hanging on the walls in the Kent-Delord House Museum.
August 13, 1832 was an important date for two prominent families in two historic areas in two different states. On this day, Frances Henrietta Delord married Henry Livingston Webb in the Gold Parlor of the Delord house. The child of this union, Frances Delord Webb, would become the last direct descendant of each of these families. Thus she inherited the many treasures accumulated throughout the families’ histories. This included many portraits of her father’s family, which now hang on the walls of the Kent-Delord House Museum. These portraits were painted by a number of acclaimed artists of the early 19th century.
The eldest of these Webb brothers was Joseph Hayes Webb (1781-1814). In 1807, Joseph and his brother Thomas (1793-1821) had started a store in Albany, NY, selling imported China, glass and crockery (earthenware). By 1821, brothers, John, Henry, and Charles had taken over the business located at 51 State Street. It was here in Albany that the Webbs and the artists Ames and Flagg would become acquainted.
The portrait of Joseph Hayes Webb is oil on canvas painted by Ezra Ames c.1812. Joseph died at the age of 33 in 1814.
Thomas Chest Webb’s portrait is oil on canvas and also painted by Ezra Ames about the same time as his brother’s portrait – 1812. Thomas died at the age of 28 in 1821.
Ezra Ames (1768 – 1836)
In his early years, Ezra Ames painted miniatures, carriages, fire buckets, fences, mirror frames, and furniture. In 1795 he moved to Albany, where he opened a sign painting and portrait painting business. As his work took off, Ames became know as one of the nation’s most talented portrait painters. During his thirty year career he painted more than seven hundred works of art including portraits of Gov. George Clinton and Alexander Hamilton.
John Haynes Webb’s portrait is oil on canvas painted by Henry Inman.
In 1834 John was best man at his brother Henry’s marriage to Frances Henrietta Delord. He gave his niece Fannie the Chickering pianoforte that stands in the Gold Parlor. John’s friendship with the portrait painter Henry Inman undoubtedly was the reason for the number of portraits of the Webb family attributed to Inman.
Henry Webb 1832 Henry Webb 1834
There are two portraits of Henry Livingston Webb in the Museum’s collection. The first is an oil on canvas painted in 1832. This was to complement the portrait of Frances Henrietta on the occasion of their marriage. The second is also oil on canvas and was painted in 1834 while He and John were in New York City. Henry stated in a letter to Betsey that they were going to exchange their portraits. Henry will later have Inman paint a copy of the wedding portrait of Frances Henrietta.
Henry Inman (1801 -1846)
Henry Inman was born in Utica, NY in 1801. The family moved to New York City in 1812. In 1814 he began a seven-year apprenticeship to John Wesley Jarvis, the most fashionable portraitist at that time. They traveled to New Orleans and then Boston where his tenure with Jarvis came to a conclusion. Inman’s career soon began to outshine that of Jarvis He gained the patronage of many of New York City’s most illustrious families and became the first vice-president of the newly formed National Academy of Design. His fame won him commissions for portraits for New York City Hall.
Elizabeth Bancker Webb (1783-1858) portrait is oil on canvas painted by Jared B. Flagg in 1846.
Eliza Webb was one of the sisters to all those Webb brothers. Known as Aunt Eliza, she was Frances Delord “Fannie” Webb’s principal guardian after Henry moved his daughter from Plattsburgh to Hartford, CT in 1836.
Jared B. Flagg (1820 -1899)
Jared Bradley Flagg was born into a family of artists. As a young man, he attained degrees from Trinity College and Columbia University in the study of theology. He served as an Episcopal minister for a while but eventually resumed his art career specializing in portraits. Some of his notable portraits include NY Court of Appeals judges, a Rhode Island Governor, and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
These six portraits along with the ones that were discussed in previous Blog posts are just a few of the works in the Kent-Delord House Museum collection that were produced by renown painters of the 18th and 19th centuries. We hope you will stop by to see these treasures when we open for tours!