Sarah Meriweather (Dorsey) Waring
ARTIST: Philip Thomas Coke Tilyard (1785-1830) was born in Baltimore, the son of Thomas Fair William Tilyard (1754-1806) a painter and glazier, who had emigrated from England. Philip trained with his father and for a time offered “sign and ornamental painting” to the people of Baltimore. By 1814, he listed himself as a “portrait painter”; he is considered Baltimore’s first significant native painter.
In 1810 Philadelphia’s Thomas Sully visited Baltimore and Tilyard is said to have sought out his advice. While the extent of Sully’s assistance is unknown, it was apparently the only instruction received by the artist other than that given by his father. Of Tilyard, Robert Gilmore, Jr. wrote that he “was a common sign painter, but having a real taste for the art, he has taught himself portrait painting and has made some excellent pictures.”
Like many of his contemporaries in the booming city of Baltimore, he also tried his hand at business. Unfortunately, by 1822 his drygoods store had failed and he resumed painting. At his untimely death in 1830 he enjoyed considerable success through the patronage of prominent Baltimoreans.
FRAME: Original gilt frame with applied spandrels at corners.
RELATED WORKS: MESDA owns companion portraits of George Washington Waring and his wife Sarah Meriweather (Dorsey) Waring by Philip Thomas Coke Tilyard (MESDA acc. 2024.142-143).
DESCRIPTION: Painting, oil on canvas, of lady sitting half right, face to front. She wears a high dark brown hair style, has brown eyes, and wears a dark high gathered dress with puff short sleeves, a loose arrangement of net at a square cut neck line, a red paisley shawl over her left hand and a red cloth at her right hand in the lower left corner. The painting is signed in the lower left hand corner.