Biographical / Historical
The Peale family was a family of painters, primarily in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827) was a portrait painter and engraver and studied in London with Benjamin West. He is known for his portraits of the founding fathers including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams. In 1786 he founded the Peale Museum, and was one of the founding members of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1805.
Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860) was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and was the second son of Charles Willson Peale. He was known primarily for his historical paintings and portraits, particularly those of George Washington. Peale painted his first Washington portrait in 1795 at the age of 17, in a sitting arranged by his father. With his father, he was also a founding member of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He also established Peale's Baltimore Museum and Gallery of Fine Arts in 1814.
Titian Ramsay Peale (1799-1885) was a naturalist, photographer, and scientific illustrator. Named for an older brother who died in 1798, he was the only naturalist in the family and documented animals and scenery in watercolors on scientific expeditions including the 1819 Long expedition to the Rocky Mountains.
Benjamin Franklin Peale (1795-1870), called Franklin, was his father's assistant at the museum and managed it after Charles Peale's death. Franklin Peale was also an employee of the Philadelphia Mint from 1833 to 1854.
Rubens Peale (1784-1865) opened the New York Museum of Natural History and Science in 1825. Following the economic Panic of 1837, Rubens became a gentleman farmer in the Pennsylvania countryside. He returned to Philadelphia in 1864 and began painting still lifes.