Vice-Admiral Edward Hughes

Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755-1828)

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This figure stands before the sea in a blue coat embroidered with gold and a white waistcoat, indicating his position as vice-admiral in the English navy. In spite of the sophisticated trappings and dignified pose, Tarkington perceived a “spirited” jolliness in the man’s plump frame and ruddy cheeks.

He believed the portrait to represent the extremely wealthy Vice-Admiral Edward Hughes, who was renowned for his appreciation of fine food. Tarkington fondly described him as a “salted and port-and-sherried old English beef,” who was caught here “waddl[ing] along the sea cliffs after a heavy dinner.” Tarkington generally favored English portraits. Stuart, although American, worked for decades in England and Ireland.

Object Information

artist
Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755-1828)
creation date
1780s
materials
oil on canvas
dimensions
50-1/2 x 40-1/4 in. (canvas)
56-1/4 x 46-1/4 x 2-3/4 in. (framed)
accession number
53.4
credit line
Gift of Mrs. Booth Tarkington
copyright
Public Domain
collection
American Painting and Sculpture to 1945
colors

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