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Otho Berry Beall

Clephan, Lewis
Place Made:
Washington District of Columbia United States of America
Date Made:
oil on canvas
HOA 33 3/4; WOA 25 1/4 __ __ __ __ __ __Frame Dimensions: HOA 43 1/4; WOA 35 1/2.
Accession Number:
SITTER: Otho Berry Beall (1790-1853), son of Samuel Brook Beall (1762- 1842) and his wife Elinor Berry Beall. He married Mary Berry (1780-1853), the daughter of Zachariah Berry (1749-1845), a planter, and Mary Williams Berry of “Concord”, Prince George’s County, Maryland. The couple lived at “Westphalia,” also known as “White House Place,” on White House Road near Ritchie in Prince George’s County, Maryland. They had three children: William Zachariah Beall (1815-1858), Washington Jeremiah Beall (1818-1895), and Zachariah Berry Beall (1825-1859).

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.

This portrait, along with the companion portrait of Mary Berry Beall and a needlework by her hand descended in the Beall family and came out of Mt. Lubentia, one of the family homes owned at one time by Otho Berry Beall and given by him to his son, Washington Jeremiah, upon his marriage to Mary Ann Magruder in 1840. The signatures of Zachariah Berry Beall and Martha E. Addison (who became his wife in 1856) are penciled in the plaster of the East wall of the 2nd floor hall of “Mt. Lubentia.”
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Forrest D. Bowie in memory of Mr. Forrest D. Bowie