• Boston Portrait Artist John Neagle Declines Invitation And Autograph Of His Subject Patrick Lyon

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    JOHN NEAGLE (November 4, 1796 – September 17, 1865) was a fashionable American painter, primarily of portraits, during the first half of the 19th century in Philadelphia. Born in Boston, MA, Neagle’s training in art began with instruction from the drawing-master Pietro Ancora and an apprenticeship to Thomas Wilson, a well-connected painter of signs and coaches in Philadelphia. Wilson introduced Neagle to Bass Otis and Thomas Sully. Neagle became a protégé of Sully’s.  Neagle decided to concentrate exclusively on portraits and set up shop as an independent master.


    Neagle’s notable works included one of PATRICK LYON (1779-1829), a wealthy businessman and an inventor.  Lyon was seized and imprisoned for three months following a robbery at the Bank of Pennsylvania.  He was accused as an accomplice because he had manufactured the vault doors. He was later cleared and awarded a large sum for damages.  He commissioned Neagle to paint his image as a blacksmith, the vocation with which he began his career. Neagle’s portrait of Lyon includes the Walnut Street Jail in the background.


    Offering two items, a one-page ALS, 5 x 7 ¾, October 30, 1851, from Neagle declining an invitation to tea and a clipped autograph of Lyon, dated Sept. 18, 1805 – two fine pieces.


    Neagle’s letter reads, “My dear sir, I am truly an unlucky fellow. I would really be glad to accept your kind invitation to tea this evening, but I have a business engagement with one of my cousins (by appointment two days ago) at ½ past 6 o’clock & an invitation accepted yesterday to spend the evening in a house which I have never yet visited.


    “Please present my best regards to Mrs. [?] Alcock & Mrs. Mitchell & say I will soon pay my respects to them.


    “In haste


    “Very truly yours,


    “J. Neagle


    “Oct. 30/51”


    Light toning, folds and a couple of pin holes to the letter. Else excellent. The Lyon signature and date are attached to another sheet. Toning but very readable and a nice association.


    Everything we sell is guaranteed authentic forever to the original buyer. We also offer a 30-day return policy. If you discover a problem or are dissatisfied with an item, please contact us immediately. Our goal is to please every customer.  We are pleased to be members of The Manuscript Society, Universal Autograph Collectors Club and The Ephemera Society. [NAS 127]