James Perkins

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

1822

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

111.3 x 86.5 cm

Description

Throughout the nineteenth century, cultural institutions such as the Boston Athenæum felt some responsibility for establishing and exhibiting records of human greatness in the form of painted or sculpted portraits of famous persons. By the time of the Civil War, it owned over eighty portraits of men and women of various origins and epochs, some of which the institution had specifically commissioned. The first of these was Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of James Perkins, Jr. (1761–1822), an international merchant and patron of the Athenæum. Perkins was active in its administration in its formative years and became enshrined in its history when, in 1822, he gave the Library his house on Pearl Street.

Credit Line

Athenæum purchase, 1822

Object Number

UR9

Reverend John Sylvester John Gardiner

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

about 1815

Medium

Oil on panel

Dimensions

28 3/8 x 22 3/4 in. (72 x 57.8 cm)

Description
John Gardiner (1765–1830) was born in Wales but spent much of his youth in the West Indies, where his father served for the British government as attorney-general. He was sent to Boston for his education, returning to Britain only at the outbreak of the American Revolution. In 1783, however, he moved permanently to Boston and was eventually named rector of Trinity Church. He was a published author and a founder of the Boston Athenæum.
Credit Line

Gift of Mary C. Gardiner (Mrs. William R.) Cabot, 1957

Object Number

UR69

Reverend Joseph Stevens Buckminster

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

about 1810

Medium

Oil on panel

Description
Joseph Buckminster (1784–1812) was graduated from Harvard College in 1800, when he was sixteen, and soon joined the Unitarian movement. Ordained at the Brattle Street Church in Boston in 1805, he devoted his life to theology and literature. He was a founding member of the Boston Athenæum.
Credit Line

Gift of Thomas Lee, grandson of the subject, 1864

Object Number

UR71

Thomas Clement

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

about 1815

Medium

Oil on panel

Dimensions

26 3/4 x 21 7/16 in. (68 x 54.5 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mary Clement, daughter of the sitter, 1879

Object Number

UR57

John Adams

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

about 1815

Medium

Oil on panel

Dimensions

26 1/16 x 20 13/16 in. (66.2 x 52.8 cm)

Description
One of several portraits of John Adams in the Athenæum’s collection, this canvas was painted from life in Philadelphia by Gilbert Stuart, the leading portraitist of the day. It was first owned by William Smith Shaw, nephew of Adams’s wife Abigail and the first Librarian of the Boston Athenæum. For some years, the painting was thought to be a copy after Stuart by his nephew Gilbert Stuart Newton and has only recently been identified as the original.
Credit Line

Gift of the estate of William Smith Shaw, 1826

Object Number

UR41

Sarah Elliot (Mrs. Thomas Handasyd) Perkins

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

about 1822

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Other: 74.3 × 60.3 cm (29 1/4 × 23 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Henry W. Minot, Jr., in memory of his mother, Ellen Sears (Curtis) Minot, great-great-great-granddaughter of the sitters, 2014

Object Number

UR354

Thomas Handasyd Perkins

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

about 1827

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Other: 91.4 × 72.4 cm (36 × 28 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Henry W. Minot, Jr., in memory of his mother, Ellen Sears (Curtis) Minot, great-great-great-granddaughter of the sitters, 2014

Object Number

UR355

Washington at Dorcester Heights

Artist

Gilbert Stuart (American 1755–1828)

Date

n.d.

Medium

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

36 x 24 in. (91.4 x 61 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Stanton Loring, 1995

Object Number

UR276