SITTER: Leonard Harbaugh (1748-1822) was born at Kreutz Creek, York County, Pennsylvania. The son of Yost Harbaugh, an emigrant from Otterberg, Germany, and his second wife Mary Elizabeth, Leonard Harbaugh was a builder, a carpenter, and a designer. He married Rebecca Rinebeck (d. 1833) in of Germantown, Pennsylvania. The couple had thirteen children. Between 1775 and 1780, he lived in Baltimore, Maryland., where he built various churches, taverns, dwellings, warehouses and bridges. Harbaugh underpinned the old Court House on Calvert Street in 1784/5, where the Battle Monument now stands in Baltimore. Under the court house, he built a tunnel for traffic, and lowered the street level about 20 feet. He then moved to Frederick, Maryland, and in 1792 to Washington, D.C., where he died September 10, 1822. Representing the state of Maryland, Harbaugh submitted entries in the competition for designs for the Capitol and President’s house. His plans have not been accounted for in the existing collections of these designs, but as with many other competitors, he was subsequently employed in “various responsible capacities in the Federal city” that included actual building operations and drafting. In fact, he built the old War and Treasury buildings, as well as the old President’s mansion. Furthermore, Harbough did much work in opening the channel of the Potomac River above Washington, and he built the old Jug Bridge (demolished in 1942) over the Monocacy River near Frederick. He also helped rebuild the Capitol after the British burned it in 1814. Habrough is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
ARTIST: Lewis Clephan (1752-1833) was active in New York City as a miniaturist and hairworker from 1787-88. Between 1797-1833 he lived in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a decorative painter at the Capitol and White House, under Dr. William Thornton. He was also the proprietor of a painting, glass, canvas, and frame business. He died in Washington, D.C.
RELATED WORKS: MESDA owns two additional works by Clephan, portraits of Otho Berry Beall and his wife Mary (Berry) Beall (MESDA acc. 4347.2-3).
DESCRIPTION: Painting, oil on board, of fair-skinned man wearing blue coat, white vest. In his left hand, he holds a document with a drawing thereon. He sits in a green painted arm chair.