Rhode Island First Day of Issue Covers
Famous Americans Issue - Gilbert Stuart Colonial Artist
First Day of Issue Covers - September 5, 1940 - Scott #884
Cachet Design by Artcraft

Gilbert Stuart was born and raised in my hometown of Saunderstown, RI. I can remember many a fine weekend spent netting Buckies (or Alewives - a kind of herring) in the creek to the  front of the Gilbert Stuart Snuff Mill, (his historic birthplace) or renting one of the old rowboats they kept at the mill and taking it up the creek to the lake behind the mill and fishing for pickerel, bluegills, and white perch.

There was a very ancient,  (at least to a 10 year old) lady who lived at the mill and took care of the place. I suspect that she has long since passed away as it was from 1955 to 1960 when the mill was one of my favorite haunts.


Gilbert Charles Stuart was born on December 3, 1755 at the Old Snuff Mill in Saunderstown, Rhode Island. He grew up in Newport, RI where his family moved when he was still very young.

Gilbert Stuart was the foremost portrait painter of his era and is especially known for his famous 1796 unfinished  portrait of George Washington, (one of which, hung in most primary school classrooms when I was attending). Other famous paintings by Stuart include portraits of Major General Henry Dearborn, and President John Adams

In 1775 Stuart moved to London to study under the Benjamin West. However, Stuart's style is more reminiscent of  Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds than of West's. Stuart opened his own studio in 1782 and began painting portraits of England's high society. Stuart didn't manage his finances verv well and fled to Ireland in 1787 to escape his creditors where he spent the next six years.

Stuart returned to the United States in 1792 and quickly established himself as the country's leading portrait painter. He lived in New York for a short period and then in Philadelphia for 12 years. He settled in Boston, Massachusetts in 1805.

Gilbert Stuart died on July 9, 1828 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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