Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Joseph Delaplaine to Thomas Jefferson, 14 January 1816

From Joseph Delaplaine

Philadelphia Jany 14h 1816

Dear sir,

A few days ago I took the liberty of requesting your opinion respecting a subject in relation to the work whose prospectus is annexed. If convenient & agreable I shall be extremely happy to receive it.—

It appears that Mr Stewart evinces no disposition to yield the portrait of yourself.

Two or three days ago Mr Wood our distinguished miniature painter, in speaking of your portrait, observed, that he had seen at Mr Madison’s one of the finest portraits of you that Stewartperhaps ever painted, & advised me by all means to have my engraving taken from that.—Mr Wood will leave this in 2 or 3 days for Washington, purposely to paint the following portraits for me—Mr Madison.—Mr Munroe’s—Chief Justice Marshall—Mr Crawford &c &c—I do wish sir, Mr Wood could find the means & opportunity of visiting you; he says he has never seen you. I have asked him to visit you & paint a portrait of you for me. He says he positively has not the means, & I feel as if I have not, because this work that I am projecting absorbs all my Capital. I would much rather have a portrait of you by Mr Wood, than by any other man in the world, because it is a universal opinion, that no man has ever had the ability to take such striking likenesses. I wish I could send him. If there can be no means devised, I shall beg you sir hereafter to give me your influence in procuring your portrait from Mr Madison. If Mr Madison however declines letting the picture be sent to me, I will request our distinguished young Countryman Mr Morse of Boston lately arrived from London, to prevail on Mr Stuart to permit him to Copy your portrait now in his possession.—

I am with much respect Your obedt st

Joseph Delaplaine

RC (DLC); on verso of enclosed prospectus; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 15 Jan.; endorsed by TJ as received 27 Jan. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: prospectus for Delaplaine’s Repository description begins Joseph Delaplaine, Delaplaine’s Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans, Philadelphia, 1816–18, 2 vols.; Poor, Jefferson’s Library, 4 (no. 139) description ends , stating that publication of the work has been delayed due to imperfect engraving, but that Delaplaine expects to issue the first half-volume in January 1816; noting that this issue will contain the lives and portraits of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Fisher Ames, Benjamin Rush, Christopher Columbus, and Amerigo Vespucci, as well as “an elegant vignette Title page by Fairman, and Frontispiece by Lawson”; advising subscribers that they may withdraw their names after completion of any individual volume; indicating that the work will be printed in quarto and issued in half-volumes, and that each full volume will consist of twelve portraits and accompanying biographies; listing the price as $4 per half-volume for subscribers and $6 for nonsubscribers; explaining that because likenesses of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart and Jean Antoine Houdon are both popular, each image will be included; and supplying a list of agents taking subscriptions, including George Richards in Georgetown, D.C., and Fitzwhylsonn & Potter in Richmond (broadside in DLC: TJ Papers, 205:36611, on verso of covering letter, undated, mutilated at fold; broadside in DLC: TJ Papers, 206:36638, on verso of Delaplaine to TJ, 27 Jan. 1816, undated, mutilated; see also note to Delaplaine to TJ, 16 Apr. 1814).

Delaplaine wanted James Monroe’s (munroe’s) portrait.

Index Entries

  • Ames, Fisher; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Columbus, Christopher; and portrait for J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Crawford, William Harris; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; and portraits of TJ by G. Stuart search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; letters from search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; proposal for printingDelaplaine’s Repository search
  • Fairman, Gideon; engraver search
  • Fitzwhylsonn & Potter (Richmond firm); agent for J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Hamilton, Alexander (1757–1804); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Houdon, Jean Antoine; bust of G. Washington search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; subscriptions search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; G. Stuart’s paintings search
  • Lawson, Alexander; engraving by search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); and portrait of TJ by G. Stuart search
  • Marshall, John; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Monroe, James; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Montpellier (Montpelier; J. Madison’s Orange Co. estate); G. Stuart’s portrait of TJ at search
  • Morse, Samuel Finley Breese; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (J. Delaplaine) search
  • Richards, George; bookseller search
  • Rush, Benjamin; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Stuart, Gilbert; portrait of G. Washington by search
  • Stuart, Gilbert; portraits of TJ by search
  • Vespucci, Amerigo (Americus Vespucius); portrait of search
  • Washington, George; and J. Delaplaine’sRepository search
  • Washington, George; portraits of search
  • Wood, Joseph; as portrait painter search