April 13, 1849 (Friday)

Cloudy and sultry today.

Accompanied some ladies this afternoon to see the splendid ship Tuscarora, a Liverpool Packet, now lying at Walnut Street wharf.  Took Miss Ch—y L—t to the art union in the evening & called on Miss S—h.

For more information on the Tuscarora, see the entry for April 11.

The Art Union of Philadelphia, located in 1849 at 210 Chestnut Street, was established in 1844 for the “promotion of the Arts of Design in the United States.” The institution was funded by a $5 annual membership fee which, in addition to voting rights and an annual engraving, gave the member a chance to participate in prize certificates.  The engraving given to members for 1849 was a large plate of “Ruth and Boaz,” painted by Peter Frederick Rothermel (1812–1895) and engraved by John Sartain (1808–1897). The AAS has many works by Rothermel and by Sartain including an engraving of Patrick Henry speaking before the House of Burgesses which was the premium given to Art Union members in 1852.

The Art Union’s gallery, capable of displaying 150 works at one time, was open to the public at no cost.  Additionally, the Art Union allowed artists to use the gallery at no charge to display and sell their art.  The American Antiquarian Society has two published addresses given at the Art Union, one in October 1848 and one in May 1849.

Sources:

“Philadelphia Art Union.” (Philadelphia) North American, April 20, 1849, page 2.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 13, 1849, page 3.

Stranger’s Guide in Philadelphia and its Environs. Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1854.

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