Collections › MESDA Collection › Dr. Robert Grant

Dr. Robert Grant

Artist/Maker:
Waldo, Samuel Lovett
Place Made:
New York New York United States of America
Date Made:
1820-1830
Medium:
oil on canvas
Dimensions:
HOA: 33; WOA: 26
Accession Number:
2509
Description:
SITTER: Dr. Robert Grant (1762-1843) was born in Leith, Scotland, the son of Robert and Elizabeth (Allen) Grant. He emigrated to the United States during the American Revolution and married Sarah Foxworth (1779-1859) in 1799 at Sampit, near Georgetown, South Carolina. Later, they moved to Elizafield, an extensive plantation on St. Simons Island, Georgia, where they grew rice, cotton, and sugar.

Grant was well known as a surgeon, but also for ingenious methods used in the management of his plantations. These included an intricate system of canals to transport his crops, and his substantial tabby sugar mills. He died in 1843 and is buried on St. Simon’s Island at Christ Church.

The cotton bole in Grant’s hand speaks to his interest in the perfection of sea island cotton, and his selection of Samuel Lovett Waldo as the artist illustrates his northern commercial and family connections. In addition to shipping much of his crop to New York City for export, Grant’s daughter Eliza Helen married Dr. Robert Hogan (c.1805-1861) of New York City in 1828, and his son Dr. Harry Allen Grant (1813-1894) married Laura Thompson of Hartford, Connecticut. According to her monument at Christ Church, Dr. Grant’s wife, Sarah (Foxworth) Grant, died in New York City on March 13, 1859.

ARTIST: Samuel Lovett Waldo (1783-1861) was born in Connecticut, and received his first instruction from Joseph Steward of Hartford, Connecticut around 1799. He opened his own studio in Hartford in 1803, but left for Litchfield, Connecticut soon thereafter. He first advertised in Charleston, South Carolina in November 1804 as lately arrived from New York. In that advertisement he offered to paint quarter length portraits for $25 and full length portraits for $100. He was in and out of Charleston until 1806, but spent his summers to the northward where he “made some improvement in his style of Painting, under the instruction of Col. Tru[m]bull [sic.].” In 1820, he formed a partnership with the artist William Jouett in New York City, where he continued his painting career.

DESCRIPTION: Painting, oil on canvas, man with ruddy complexion, half right, with cotton bole in right hand, his right arm resting on the arm of a chair with rose upholstery.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund