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Marquis De Lafayette

James Wattles (American, active ca. 1840)ca. 1840

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

The artist who completed this portrait was probably James L. Wattles, a portrait painter active in Baltimore from ca. 1829 to 1854. He is said to have been a rival of Alfred Jacob Miller in portraying Native Americans. Wattles seems to have had a son who painted portraits, J. Henry Wattles. He is known to have been living in Baltimore in 1842.

The Marquis de Lafayette was a French aristocrat and military officer who served with distinction under George Washington in the American Revolutionary War. This is a copy of a portrait of the Marquis by the French artist of Dutch-German ancestry, Ary Scheffer. The portrait was brought to the United States during Lafayette's return trip, taken on the invitation of President James Munroe from 1824 to 1825, during which he toured widely. The Schaffer portrait can now be found in the House of Representatives in Washington DC. Other copies of the work exist, suggesting Lafayette's popular heroic status at this time.

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