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,
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
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.