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Photo of painting. See below for details.
by Charles Willson Peale, from life, 1781-1782
Oil on canvas. H 24, W 20 in (H 61, W 50.8 cm)
Independence NHP
INDE 14148

About the Man
About this Portrait:
Charles Willson Peale painted his museum portrait of Smallwood in the early 1780s. Smallwood wears his uniform of major general (the rank he received in recognition for his service at the Battle of Camden). Peale considered this portrait among my best works of that day, and nearly 40 years later said the portrait I have of Gen. Smallwood is a faithful and expressive likeness of him. The painting first appears on the October 13, 1784 list published in the Freeman's Journal and Philadelphia Daily Advertiser. In addition to the museum portrait of Smallwood, Peale repainted his brother James's miniature of the subject (now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) in 1788 and copied the museum portrait for the Maryland State House in Annapolis in 1823. Earlier, Peale's son, Rembrandt, had copied the museum portrait for use in Peale's Baltimore Museum (now owned by the Baltimore Museum of Art) c. 1805.

Ownership History:
Listed in the 1795 Peale Museum catalog. Purchased by the City of Philadelphia at the 1854 Peale Museum sale.

mallwood was born in Charles County, Maryland. He attended school in England and served in the British army during the French and Indian War. In 1761, he began his political career as a member of the Maryland Assembly. He attended the Maryland Convention in 1775 and advocated armed resistance to the troops posted in America to enforce British tax laws. Early in the Revolution, he was wounded at White Plains and returned home to recuperate. While General Washington camped at Valley Forge, Smallwood rejoined his men at the head of Maryland's Elk River to protect the army's supplies. In 1780, he and his troops formed the reserve at the battle of Camden. After the battle he succeeded to the former command of the fatally wounded Baron de Kalb. However, he refused to serve under the Prussian Baron von Steuben and returned to Maryland. He stayed there, gathering additional troops and supplies, until the end of the war. His subsequent political career put him in the Maryland governor's office in 1785. He served for three one-year terms as governor, during which time he organized his state's federal constitutional ratifying convention. Smallwood died on February 12, 1792.

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Last Modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2002