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Portrait of Sarah Martin Lewis King Claiborne

ca. 1825
Origin: America, Tennessee, Nashville
OH: 42 in.; OW: 37 in. (framed)
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2017-301,A&B
Half-length portrait of a woman in a green dress with a lace bonnet adorned with yellow and purple ribbon. She is seated in a red upholstered chair before a dark green-brown background. Original 19th-century gilt wood and composition slope-molding frames with corner leave and scroll decoration.
Label:Thomas Claiborne Jr., and Sarah Martin Lewis King Claiborne had their portraits painted by Ralph E. W. Earl around 1825. Thomas, a noted Tennessee lawyer and politician, served on General Andrew Jackson’s staff druing the Creek War in 1813-1814. Born in Virginia, Thomas moved to Tennessee in 1807. Sarah’s parents were also from Virginia, but moved west the year she was born. By their 1812 marriage, the couple were well-respected members of Nashville society. Of his many accomplishments, Thomas is most noted as being the first Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.

The close relationship between artist Ralph E. W. Earl and Andrew Jackson provided Earl with multiple commissions from the General’s political colleagues and military associates. Claiborne’s service with Jackson during the War of 1812 and his time as a member of Congress made him an ideal subject for Earl. The artist completed the couple’s portraits several years before his move to Washington, D.C.
Provenance:Descended in the Claiborne Family through Henry (Harry) Laurens Claiborne; sold to dealer Charles Elder of Nashville, Tennessee; sold to Dr. Benjamin Caldwell circa 1960s; acquired from the Caldwell auction in 2006 by a Maryville, Tennessee collector.