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Ambrose Spencer (1765-1848)

Object Number: 
1871.1
Date: 
ca. 1818
Medium: 
Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 
canvas: 30 1/4 x 25 in. ( 76.8 x 63.5 cm ) frame: 35 1/2 x 30 1/4 x 3 1/4 in. ( 90.2 x 76.8 x 8.3 cm )
Gallery Label: 
Spencer was born in Salisbury, Conn., the son of Philip and Abigail (Moore) Spencer. He graduated from Harvard in 1783 and was admitted to the bar in 1788. Settling in Hudson, N.Y., he entered politics and served in the state legislature from 1793 to 1802. In 1802 he became attorney general for the state and two years later began a nineteen year tenure on the state Supreme Court; he was named chief justice in 1819. He later served as mayor of Albany (1824-25) and was elected to Congress (1829).
Bibliography: 
Catalogue of the Museum and Gallery of Art of The New-York Historical Society, New York, The New-York Historical Society, 1881, p. 60. Catalogue of the Gallery of Art of The New-York Historical Society, New York, The New-York Historical Society, 1915, p. 26. Kelby, William, Notes on American Artists 1754-1820: Copied from advertisements appearing in the newspapers of the day, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1922, p. 69. Bolton, Theodore, and Groce, George C., Jr., "John Wesley Jarvis: An Account of His Life and the First Catalogue of His Work, Art Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 4, Autumn 1938, pp. 299-321. "Jarvis Centennial Exhibition List," New York; The New-York Historical Society, 1940, p. 1. Dickson, H.E., "John Wesley Jarvis: Knickerbocker Painter, The New-York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin, Vol. 24, No. 2, April 1940, pp. 47-64. Catalogue of American Portraits in The New-York Historical Society: Oil Portraits, Miniatures, Sculptures, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1941, p. 268. Dickson, Harold E., John Wesley Jarvis: American Painter, 1780-1840, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1949, pp. 209, 332, 365, 439. Roper, Donald M., "Justice Smith Thompson," The New-York Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 51, No. 2, April 1967, pp. 119-40. Catalogue of American Portraits in The New-York Historical Society, Vol. 2, New York: The New-York Historical Society, 1974, p. 748. Zygmont, Bryan J., Portraiture and Politics in New York City, 1790-1825, Ph.D. Diss., University of Maryland, College Park, 2006, pp. 215, 231.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Marshall S. Bidwell
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group