Sunday, March 1, 2009

New 19th Century Portraits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art





On January 14 & 16, 2009, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Tribune reported that New York siblings John, Pamela, and William Pickens placed portraits painted by Philadelphia artist Franklin Street of their ancestors, newlyweds Hiram Charles and Elizabeth Montier on long term loan to the Phildelphia Museum of Art.

These 1841 portraits of the African American couple can be traced back to the city’s first mayor, Humphrey Morrey (c. 1650-1716), appointed by William Penn in 1691. The portraits of Hiram Charles Montier (1818–1905), who was a bootmaker at the time of the painting, and his wife Elizabeth Brown Montier (1820–c. 1858) are owned by their descendents, Mr. and Mrs. William Pickens, III of New York.

In 1742, Mayor Humphrey Morrey's son Richard (1675-1754) married one of the family’s servants, Cremona Satterthwaite (1710-1770) who was 35 years younger than he. The union resulted in five children, and in Cremona Morrey receiving 198 acres of land from Richard in 1746, near Guineatown in Cheltenham Township of Montgomery County just northwest of Philadelphia.One of their 5 children, Cremona, married a free black man, John Montier. Hiram Chales Montier descended from this union.