James Peale

James Peale, Artist (1749-1831)

Best known as a portrait miniaturist and fruit still-life painter, James Peale (1749-1831) also made oil portraits, history paintings, and landscapes. The total number of landscape paintings he created remains undetermined, but he executed more than two hundred watercolor miniatures on ivory, perhaps one hundred still-life paintings, fewer than seventy oil portraits, and at least eight history paintings.

In 1782 he married Mary Claypoole (1753-1828), a daughter of James Claypoole (1721-1784) and sister of portrait painter James Claypoole Jr. (ca 1743-1822), after which he established his own household and artistic career. They had six children. James Peale, Jr.; Anna Claypoole Peale Duncan; Margaretta Angelica Peale; Sarah Miriam Peale; Maria Peale; and, Sophinisba Peale.

Three of his six children became accomplished painters: Anna Claypoole Peale (1798–1871), a miniaturist and still-life painter; Margaretta Angelica Peale (1795–1882), painter of trompe l’oeil subjects and tabletop fruit; and Sarah Miriam Peale (1800–1885), a portraitist and still-life painter. His daughter Maria Peale also became a painter of still lifes, though of less distinction than her sisters.

Peale died in Philadelphia on May 24, 1831 and is buried at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church cemetery along with this wife and six children.

Sarah Miriam Peale, perhaps the most famous of the children, was James Peale’s youngest daughter and was trained by her father, and uncle Charles Willson Peale. She served as a studio assistant to her father. Her first public works date from 1816 with subjects such as flowers and still-life but soon turned to portraiture. After experimenting with still lifes and miniatures, Peale exhibited her first full-size portrait at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1818. Six years later she and her sister Anna Claypoole Peale, a miniaturist, became the first two female members of the Academy, an enormously influential Philadelphia institution.

Conservation Assessment

Inscription:

Type of Marker: Ledger stone
Material: Marble
Issues: delamination, blistering
Comments: Whole stone
Recommended Treatment:

  • Excavate soil around ledger.
  • Raise and relocate ledger within a couple feet to an area without tree roots.
  • Install two reinforced concrete lintels as a foundation for the ledger to rest on.
  • Patch and fill all blistering and delaminating sections with a lime based mortar.
  • Gently clean the surface of the stone with a biocide using a soft bristled brush.
  • Treat the stone with an Ethyl Silicate consolidate.

Marker Details
Inventory Number: 533
Cemetery Section: 11

Written by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.