The Fine Arts (paintings and sculpture) in Hampton’s collection include works by leading American artists such as John Hesselius, Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Joshua Johnson, Thomas Sully, and John Wesley Jarvis. Highlights include Col. John Eager Howard by C. W. Peale (1784) and Prudence Gough Carroll (c. 1797) by Joshua Johnson, the first African American to have a successful career as an artist. Renowned artist Thomas Sully’s 1841 portrait of John Ridgely hangs today in its original location in the Great Hall. Hampton’s Sully portraits of Governor Charles Carnan Ridgely and Eliza Ridgely (Lady with a Harp) are now in the National Gallery of Art. Special works by lesser known artists include the 1856 portrait of four Ridgely family first cousins by John Carlin.
Many arts at Hampton reflect the collecting of Eliza Eichelberger Ridgely (1803-1867). Eliza’s interest in the arts and four trips abroad inspired her acquisition of European paintings such as large early 18th century Italian landscapes, Dutch seascapes, “Old Master” type religious subjects and genre scenes. Eliza’s numerous prints and engravings document historic sites and landscapes visited. The Great Hall and Music Room became virtual art galleries, with pictures hung nearly to the ceiling. The Ridgely family’s Grand Tours in Europe are further documented by sculptural portraits commissioned from both Italian and American expatriate artists.
Last updated: May 23, 2020