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Lot 0350
American School, 19th century portrait of a gentleman, possibly Gen. Thomas Gilchrist Polk. Half-length oil on canvas portrait, depicting the dark haired, middle aged subject with graying dark hair, in a black suit, seated facing right against a red draped background. Housed in a period American gilt wood fluted cove style frame with applied corner ornaments. Sight - 29 3/8" H x 24 3/8" W. Framed - 40 3/4" H 36 1/4" W. Mid-19th century. Note: Gallery label en verso identifies sitter as President James Knox Polk (1795-1849), but in our opinion, the likeness more strongly resembles images of Polk's second cousin, Thomas Gilchrist Polk (1791-1869). Thomas Gilchrist Polk was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the eldest child of Colonel William and Griselda Gilchrist Polk. Among his prominent relatives were his brother, Dr. William Julius Polk, his half brothers Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk and Colonel Rufus K. Polk, and President Polk. Gen. Polk acted as the President of the Rowan chapter of the American Colonization Society and as Major General of the Militia. He served as a North Carolina state lawmaker in the 1820s and 30s, and as a Trustee of the University of North Carolina. In 1838, he moved his family briefly to La Grange, TN. Two years later he moved again to Holly Springs, MS. He declined a nomination to run for Governor of Mississippi and an 1860 census reported that he was a farmer with extensive property and real estate. Polk died in Holly Springs, MD.(Source: North Carolina Biography, edited by William S. Powell; Litchfield Historical Society). Provenance: Private Memphis Collection; ex-Robert M. Hicklin, Charleston, SC; ex-Jay Altmayer, Mobile, Alabama. (Additional high-resolution photos are available at www.caseantiques.com.)


Stretcher appears to be original. Relined. Heavy craquelure overall and bullseye impact crack with area of loss and flaking upper right side 1" W x 3/4" H near sitter's head. Some minor inpainting to sitter's face, scattered inpainting to his clothing and in the background. Darker areas show with black light at bottom of canvas on sitter's lapel underneath varnish layer; may be old overpainting or varnish build-up. See black light photo. Frame restored; abrasion along top edge and left side.

Starting Bid


Buyer's Premium

  • 28%

Portrait of a gentleman, poss. Gen. Thomas Gilchrist

Estimate $1,000 - $1,400
$5001 Bid
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