Charles Loring Elliott, 1812-1868
Mathew Brady Studio
Daguerreotype, circa 1850
National Portrait Gallery,
Charles Loring Elliott tried and rejected a career in architecture before coming to New York City to study painting with John Trumbull and John Quidor in 1834. On receiving Trumbull's grudging blessing, Elliott spent the next decade as an itinerant portraitist. He returned to New York around 1845, began to exhibit his work at the National Academy of Design, and within five years was considered the finest portrait painter of his time. Elliott painted more than seven hundred portraits during his career, including many of the period's most successful businessmen, such as glass manufacturer Erastus Corning, Hartford gun magnate Samuel Colt, millionaires William Thompson Walters of Baltimore and William Wilson Corcoran of Washington, as well as writers, artists, and politicians. For Henry T. Tuckerman, Elliott's sitters seemed "the epitome of a progressive, locomotive race, born for office and action."
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