Library Catalog - Kentucky Historical Society

Object Record

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Object Name Engraving
Title The United States Senate, A.D. 1850
Catalog Number 1926.4
Creator Whitechurch, Robert
Date 1855
Material(s) Paper/Ink
Dimensions H-31 W-36.875 inches
Description This engraving is titled "The United States Senate, A.D. 1850," and it was drawn by Robert Whitechurch, engraved by Peter F. Rothermel, and published by John M. Butler and Alfred Long. The print shows Senator Henry Clay speaking to the Senate about the Compromise of 1850 in the Old Senate Chamber. Daniel Webster is seated to the left of Clay with his head in his left hand. John C. Calhoun stands third from the right and is directly to the left of the Speaker's chair. The remaining Senators sit in their chairs and lean on their desks as they look at Henry Clay and listen to him speak. An audience looks down at the scene in the chamber from two visitors' galleries in the back. There is a chandelier depicted in the upper center edge of the print. In the upper right quadrant, fabric is draped from a valence from a canopy over the dais with a carved eagle and shield overhead. Below, is the President of the Senate's desk. Directly below the printed image of the engraving, there is small text that reads, "DRAWN BY P.F. ROTHERMEL. Entered according to an Act of Congress in the year 1855 by John M. Butler and Alfred Long in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States in and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. ENGRAVED BY R. WHITECHURCH." In the lower margin in large capitalized text, the titled of the engraving is printed: UNITED STATES SENATE, A.D. 1850. Below the title, there is cursive text that says, "This Engraving from the Original Picture is respectfully dedicated to the People of the United States by the Publishers." The bottom line of text says, "JOHN M. BUTLER AND ALFRED LONG, 84 CHESTNUT ST. PHILADELPHIA, PA." In the lower left corner, it says, "PROOF." In the lower right corner, it says, "Printed by J.M. Butler."
Notes According to the United States Senate Office of the Senate Curator, "Peter F. Rothermel, who painted the work that served as the basis for Robert Whitechurch’s engraving, used daguerreotypes to produce highly accurate portraits of the senators. By working from photographs, Rothermel produced an image with an immediacy almost as real as the event. Whitechurch attained the same quality in the engraving."
Collection Charles J. Livingood Collection
People Whitechurch, Robert
Rothermel, Peter F.
Butler, J.M.
Long, Alfred
Clay, Henry
Webster, Daniel
Calhoun, John C.
Subjects Prints
Politics & government
Congress & presidents
Search Terms Capitol building
Physical Holder Kentucky Historical Society - KHS