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Zachary Taylor and William Bliss

Zachary Taylor and William Bliss
Artist
Unidentified Artist
Sitter
William Wallace Smith Bliss, 7 Sept 1815 - 5 Aug 1853
Zachary Taylor, 24 Nov 1784 - 9 Jul 1850
Date
c. 1848
Type
Photograph
Medium
Quarter-plate daguerreotype, copy plate
Dimensions
Image/Sight: 9 × 6.6 cm (3 9/16 × 2 5/8")
Mat (brass): 10.8 × 8.3 cm (4 1/4 × 3 1/4")
Case open: 12.2 × 19.8 × 1 cm (4 13/16 × 7 13/16 × 3/8")
Case closed: 12.2 × 9.8 × 1.8 cm (4 13/16 × 3 7/8 × 11/16")
Topic
Personal Attribute\Facial Hair\Beard
Costume\Dress Accessory\Tie\Bowtie
Interior\Studio\Photography
Cased object
William Wallace Smith Bliss: Male
Zachary Taylor: Male
Zachary Taylor: Politics and Government\President of US
Zachary Taylor: Military and Intelligence\Army\Officer\War of 1812
Zachary Taylor: Military and Intelligence\Army\Officer\Mexican War
Zachary Taylor: Congressional Gold Medal
Portrait
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; partial gift of the Quaker Oats Company
Restrictions & Rights
CC0
Object number
NPG.77.142
Exhibition Label
Born Orange County, Virginia
Nicknamed “Old Rough and Ready” for his unpolished demeanor and his courage under fire, General Zachary Taylor was a seasoned commander by 1846, when hostilities erupted between the United States and Mexico. Taylor’s decisive victories at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterrey, and Buena Vista earned him popular recognition as the hero of the Mexican-American War and propelled him to victory in the 1848 presidential election. Eager to unify the nation, Taylor instead contributed to sectional tensions by adamantly opposing the extension of slavery into the western territories. He died unexpectedly in 1850 after only sixteen months in office.
Zachary Taylor posed for this portrait with William W.S. Bliss (1815–1853), who served as the general’s chief of staff during the Mexican-American War. A West Point graduate and a trusted aide, Bliss married Taylor’s youngest daughter, Betty, in 1848, and later served as the president’s private secretary. This daguerreotype, which is a vintage copy of an unlocated original, lacks some of the clarity and contrast typical of a life portrait.
Nacido en Orange County, Virginia
Apodado “Old Rough and Ready” (rudo pero efectivo) por su modales toscos y su valentía en el campo de batalla, el general Zachary Taylor era ya un líder experimentado en 1846, cuando estallaron las hostilidades entre Estados Unidos y México. Sus decisivas victorias en Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterrey y Buena Vista lo dieron a conocer como el héroe de la llamada Guerra entre Estados Unidos y México, impulsándolo hacia el triunfo en las elecciones presidenciales de 1848. Deseoso de unificar a la nación, Taylor terminó sin embargo por agudizar las tensiones divisorias con su férrea oposición a la extensión de la esclavitud hacia los territorios del oeste. Murió súbitamente en 1850, a solo dieciséis meses de haber accedido a la presidencia.
Zachary Taylor posó para este retrato junto a William W.S. Bliss (1815–1853), quien le había servido como jefe de estado mayor durante la guerra con México. Bliss, egresado de West Point, gozaba de la confianza de Taylor y en 1848 contrajo matrimonio con la hija menor de este, Betty, pasando luego a ser el secretario privado del presidente. Este daguerrotipo, copia antigua de un original extraviado, carece de la claridad y el contraste típicos de los retratos tomados del natural.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition
Family Ties
On View
NPG, East Gallery 134