The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
Each day is a little shorter than the one before, each evening a little
longer. Lamps are lit sooner and extra oil is added to the reservoir. Eyesight
is dimmer, but memories are keener, as sharp sometimes as the new cider in
the barn. It is autumn, the nostalgia-breeding season, the time for family
and photo albums under the lamplight. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), the
patriarch of the 18th-century Philadelphia family, whose members helped shape
both American painting and science for nearly a century and a quarter, evokes
the mood brilliantly and with great economy in James Peale
(The Lamplight Portrait) (cover ). When the
painting was executed, the artist was an octogenarian, the subject a septuagenarian.
They were the eldest and youngest of the six children of Charles Peale, who
had fled to Virginia in 1736 to escape embezzlement charges brought against
him in England. Both sons became painters and each sired a line of other painters,
pastellists, miniaturists, and, not least, museum curators that stretched
from Colonial times well into America’s Gilded Age in the 1880s.
Southgate MT. James Peale (The Lamplight Portrait). JAMA. 2005;294(16):1999. doi:10.1001/jama.294.16.1999