Canvas: HOA 29-3/4″; WOA 23-5/16″
SITTER: Morse was introduced to Alexander Calder (1771-1849) the well established cabinetmaker and builder. Calder was born in Scotland and eventually moved to Charlestown by 1796. Not only was he famous for his fine cabinetry and furniture making, he was also a shipbuilder and business owner. Morse’s portrait speaks to Calder’s powerful name and status that he had spread throughout the South.
“In Morse’s fine portrait, Calder is a confident, upright, unaffected Scotsman. His ruddy-skinned, heavy-lidded face shines out atop a powerful torso clad in a dark green jacket and crisp white stock and collar. The rather arbitrary bold red swatch of drapery at the right makes an effective counterpoint to the dark jacket, while the aquamarine sky touched with rose lends a quiet note of approaching evening. ” (William Kloss, Samuel F. B. Morse, 1988, p.62)
The frame is gold leaf over plaster over wood. Having foliage and shell decoration with beveled detailing. There is cracking in the plaster and areas of loss throughout.
The painting was re-framed at some point. We are not sure if the painting was originally in this frame and just stabilized at a later point or it existed outside of this frame.