Otho Berry Beall
The 1850 Census listed Otho as a “planter” with $70,140 worth of real estate and more than seventy enslaved persons.
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.
FRAME: Portrait is in highly carved, gilded frame. The canvas is tacked to the sides of the stretcher which appears to be original. Stretcher is mortise and tenoned with pegs at each corner.
RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA also owns the portrait of Beall’s wife, Mary Berry Beall (MESDA acc. 4347.3) as well as a needlework by her hand. MESDA also owns an additional portrait by Clephan, that of Leonard Harbaugh (MESDA acc. 2501).
DESCRIPTION: 3/4 length portrait of Otho Beall turned slightly to the right; he sits with his proper right hand tucked into his vest and his proper left arm propped on the crest rail of a yellow chair; in his left hand he holds a piece of paper; he has light brown hair, dark eyes, and a slight double chin; he is wearing a light shirt, and a light waistcoat with a double row of buttons and a dark coat; a set of gold chains with watch fobs and key dangles from his waist ; in the background is a column to his right draped with pink fabric.