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Narrow, rectangular format. Almost full-length portrait of a man, seated with left arm on rolled arm of empire sofa. Column in left background. He wars a dark suit. Unframed. Husband of Sarah Prince McArthur (1991.1348.2), father of Catherine McArthur (1991.1348.3), William Miltimore McArthur (1991.1348.4), and Arthur McArthur II (1991.1348.5).
oil paint (paint)
Oil on Canvas
"Cherished Possessions": Royall Brewster Smith passed his entire life in rural Maine, painting portraits and apparently houses and signs as well. In 1836 he painted these portraits of five members of the McArthur family of Limington, Maine. Twenty-five years after these were painted, the McArthur family was torn apart when the two brothers enlisted on opposite sides in the Civil War. Their sister Catherine abhorred the war, calling it fratricidal strife and describing her brother Arthur, who had enlisted in the Confederate army, as dear, noble, but mistaken. She schemed ways to get a letter across the lines to him, not knowing that he had already been killed. Catherine herself did not survive the war but died of heart failure in 1864.
In yellow paint, on a narrow blue band at the bottom: ARTHUR MCARTHUR, ESQ., BORN JANUARY 14TH 1790, PAINTED JUNE 1836 BY ROYALL B. SMITH On Verso: 1- foam core backing, in black felt pen: ""2363"" 2- white chalk (?) across top of stretcher on reverse, almost obscured totally by new tacking margin"" ""ARTHUR M. MCARTHUR [illegible date]""
Original to Cogswell's Grant (Essex, Mass.),
Smith, Royall Brewster, 1801-1849 (Maker)
50 x 27 x 0.75 (HxWxD) (inches)
Gift of Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little
Maine (United States)
Limington (York county, Maine)