"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Monday, August 1, 2016

William T. Walters

This 1883 portrait of William T. Walters by Leon Bonnat hangs in the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland.
"William Thompson Walters (May 23, 1820 – November 22, 1894) was an American businessman and art collector, whose collection formed the basis of the Walters Art Museum.

He was born in Liverpool, Pennsylvania in 1820. He was educated as a civil engineer, but became interested in the coal and iron industry. While directing a smelting establishment in Pennsylvania, Walters produced the first iron manufactured from mineral coal in the United States.

He moved to Baltimore in 1841, where he worked as a grain merchant and in 1847 became established as a liquor wholesaler.

He spent much of the American Civil War in Europe, where he studied and purchased art. After the end of the war, he returned to the United States, where he invested in banking and railroads, founding the Atlantic Coast Line. He was appointed as the United States commissioner at the Paris expositions of 1867 and 1878, and also to that at Vienna in 1873. In the late 1880s he took in business in the horse trade, importing Percheron hoses with his partner Samuel Hopkins." -- Wikipedia
The Walters Art Gallery describes the painting this way.
"Before moving to Paris in 1854, Bonnat trained in Madrid. The stark realism and sharp contrasts in light and shadow of Bonnat's mature style reflect the influence of the great 17th-century Spanish master Diego Velázquez. Until the late 1870s, Bonnat specialized in historical subjects and scenes inspired by a visit to the Holy Land and Egypt undertaken with J.-L. Gérôme in 1868-1869. During the early years of France's Third Republic (1870-1940), however, Bonnat gained an international following for his dramatically illuminated portraits of statesmen and leaders in many fields. Because of their shared admiration for the animal sculptures of the French artist Antoine-Louis Barye, a close association developed between Bonnat, Walters, and the Baltimore expatriate and art consultant George A. Lucas." -- Walters Art Gallery

 The 1892 Tribune List of American Millionaires includes this entry for W. T. Walters.

W. T. Walters. — Wholesale whiskey and railroad investments. Is vice-president of the Safe Deposit and Trust Company.
This advertisement of for W. T. Walters & Co. appeared in Matchett's Baltimore Directory For 1855-56, Vol. 565 Page 358,  It can be found in the Maryland Archives.

This display from "From Rye to Raphael" exhibit at the Walters Art Gallery illustrates the Whiskey business of William Walters and this brother Edwin.

 The bottle of rye is from "The Walters Mountain Distilleries."

This Whiskey is made at our — Mountain Distilleries in Somerset County. Pennsylvania — Mountain Spring Water — The Best Rye Mashed by Hand and Distillation by the Old Fashioned Fire Copper Process are The Elements which combine to produce.

And the tumblers bear W. T. Walters' monogram.

 W. T. W

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