Thomas Jefferson Papers
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Joseph Delaplaine to Thomas Jefferson, 3 October 1814

From Joseph Delaplaine

Philadelphia October 3d 1814

Dear sir,

I duly received your favour of the 28h of August, enclosing your outline of the engraved portrait of Columbus [in the?] work of De Bry.

I beg you to accept my sincere thanks for your kindness in giving me such satisfactory information respecting the authenticity of the Portraits of Columbus. I will avail myself of it & when an opportunity occurs will cause a drawing to be taken from the picture in your possession.

I would have had the pleasure of replying to your favour earlier, but I have been waiting for a reply to my letter to Mr Stuart on the subject of your portrait, in the hope of giving you a favourable account of the result of our respective applications to him. I am sorry, very sorry, to inform you that he has not even noticed my letter.

I am anxious to have an engraving of your portrait, & I beg of you to consider what steps you will take for the accomplishment of this object.

Others, it is well known, have been treated by Mr Stuart precisely in the same manner, and many gentlemen are impressed with a perfect belief that neither you nor myself, will ever be able to prevail upon him to place in your hands that which is your own & which it is so unjust to with-hold.

I should greatly regret to be compelled to suspend my work, in consequence of not receiving your portrait, and I therefore take the liberty of knowing from you whether you will authorize me by power of Attorney to obtain it.

I enclose you an engraved portrait of the President & request your opinion of it.

Hoping to receive an early answer, I remain

Dear sir, with great regard your very obed. sevt

Joseph Delaplaine

RC (DLC); torn at seal; endorsed by TJ as received 12 Oct. 1814 and so recorded in SJL. RC (NHi: Thomas Jefferson Papers); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Patrick Gibson, 25 Oct. 1814, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Philadelphia, 5 Oct.

Despite several applications to the artist, Delaplaine ultimately failed in his attempt to obtain Gilbert Stuart’s 1805 “Edgehill Portrait” of TJ for use in his Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (note to TJ to Delaplaine, 30 May 1813; TJ to Stuart, 9 Aug. 1814). The enclosure was apparently an early state of the stipple engraving of president James Madison (entitled James Madison Esqr [Philadelphia, 1814]) executed for Delaplaine by William R. Jones from Stuart’s 1804 life portrait (Theodore Bolton, “The Life Portraits of James Madison,” WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 3d ser., 8 [1951]: 30–1, 39, 41–2).

Index Entries

  • Americae Pars Quinta, part five of The Great or American Voyages, Parts I to XI, in Latin (T. de Bry) search
  • Bry, Jean de; engraving of C. Columbus by search
  • Bry, Theodor de; Americae Pars Quinta, part five of The Great or American Voyages, Parts I to XI, in Latin search
  • Columbus, Christopher; and portrait for J. Delaplaine’s Repository search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; and portraits of TJ by G. Stuart search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; Delaplaine’s Repository search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; letters from search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; publishes engraved portraits search
  • Delaplaine, Joseph; sends artwork to TJ search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Portraits; G. Stuart’s paintings search
  • Jones, William R.; engraving by search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); engraving of search
  • Madison, James (1751–1836); portrait of, by G. Stuart search
  • Repository of the Lives and Portraits of Distinguished Americans (J. Delaplaine) search
  • Stuart, Gilbert; portrait of J. Madison by search
  • Stuart, Gilbert; portraits of TJ by search