Letter from G. P. A. HEALY to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated May 2, 1868.
My dear Marsh.
I was delighted that Mrs. Healy and the children had the pleasure of seeing yourself and Mrs. Marsh before they left Florence. I hope for the same pleasure before the winter which I purpose passing in Rome. While there I shall paint a historical picture representing the late President, General Grant, Lieut. Gen. Sherman, and Vice-Admiral Porter, in an interview on board the River Queen, to decide on a plan for bringing the war to a conclusion by the capture of Richmond and its army. I hope to show you the studies for this work on my way to Rome.
Before entering on my European campaign, I shall "burn my ships" -- that is, sell my
pictures, studies and engravings. By this step, I try in advance to fortify
myself in advance against the seductions of Chicago! for there is high authority for knowing that where a man's goods are there will his heart be also.
Mrs. Healy sends me every week one of her highly interesting letters, and this day came one from each of my girls in Germany assuring me they are pleased with their school, the elder says she will read to me next winter while I paint; the younger purposes returning to the same school with her little sister Kathleen.
Give my kindest regards to Mrs. Marsh, and I remain devotedly
Yours friend.Geo. P. A. Healy
It may not be amiss to notify you of the object of my writing to you, viz.--that I have sent a boy to Francis Alexander containing a portrait of General Jackson, consigned to your care.
References in this letter:
General Willliam Tecumseh Sherman told Healy about a meeting held toward the end of the war, when he, General Ulysses S.Grant, and Admiral David D. Porter met with President Lincoln on board the River Queen to prepare for the coming peace. Healy began a large group portrait based on this incident in America and completed it in his studio in Rome in 1868.
The American portrait painter, George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894), was one of the most popular artists of his time. He is known for his paintings of presidents, statesman, and members of Society on both sides of the Atlantic. A native of Boston, he studied in France under Antoine-Jean Gros and established a studio in Paris. In 1840, the U.S. Minister to France, General Lewis Cass, introduced Healy to King Louis Phillippe, and his reputation was established in Europe. In all, Healy made thirty trans-Atlantic trips but settled in Chicago at the behest of a wealthy Illinois businessman, William Butler Ogden.
Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), hero of the War of 1812, was President of the United States from 1829 to 1837.