New Castle, Delaware
Community History and Archaeology Program 

Portraits of the Rich and Powerful in New Castle (1750-1850)

New Castle was home to four signers of the Declaration of Independence (2 from DE, 1 each from NJ & PA), governors, judges, state and U. S. senators, an opium merchant/Consul-General/son of a Signer (William Read) and wealthy people. Perhaps not powerful but influential were their wives who bore up to 13 children, including many who themselves became influential, such as the child who became the Bishop of Virginia, served as a field chaplain in the civil war, and preserved William and Mary.

They lived within four blocks of each other (and me), and most were related. The map below shows their portraits and either the locations of their residences (red lines) or the relationships between the families (blue lines). Press the toggle button to switch between views.

Click here for a larger version of this map. Click on the portraits on the map or in the table below to see a larger image and details about the person and portrait.

Click on the portraits on the map or in the table below to see a larger image and details about the person and portrait. The 1805 Latrobe Survey map is courtesy of Delaware Public Archives, Dover

and link
Date active in
Philadelphia region
Henri Couturier*1661-1669
Gustavus Hesselius1712-1746
Robert Feke1741-1750
Benjamin West1746-1759
John Wollaston1749-1767
John Hesselius1750-1778
Robert Edge Pine1784-1788
Charles Willson Peale1767-1827
Gilbert Stuart1795-1805
Thomas Sully1806-1872
Jacob Eichholtz1809-1842
James Reid Lambdin1837-1899

* Couturier's only portrait was of Stuyvesant.

The introduction to the "Art in Colonial and Federal America" gallery in the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, states that

"portraiture was the dominant art form [in colonial and federal America]. Portraits not only revealed Americans' desire to preserve images of themselves and their families, but also the Puritan view that portraiture was an acceptable art. This was because portraits were affordable only by those with an excess of income, and earthly success was believed to be dependent upon heavenly approval. Eighteenth and early 19th-century portraits also inform us about Americans' taste, social status, contemporary clothing, and life preferences."

About Portraits (Wikipedia)

-- Click on column headings to sort up or down.
-- Click on the portrait to see more details and a larger image.
ImageFirstLast NameLinkDatesArtistCreditTitle
GunningBedford Sr. X 1742-1797 Robert Edge Pine Winterthur Museum Governor (1796-97), Trustee NCC
CalebBennett   1758-1836 attr. Thomas Sully State Portrait Commission * Governor (1833-1836)
Ann ClayBooth X 1759-1846 Delaware Historical Society Wife, mother of 8
JamesBooth Jr. X 1789-1855 Laussat Rogers? copy of painting attr. Thomas Sully New Castle Historical Society Chief Justice (1841-1855)
Trustee NCC
HannahBooth Jr.   1797-1857 Laussat Rogers after ? New Castle Historical Society Organist & Directress of Music
JamesBooth Sr. X 1753-1828 Laussat Rogers? State Portrait Commission * Chief Justice Common Pleas (1799-1828)
SlatorClay X 1711-1767 John Hesselius The Trout Gallery at Dickinson College, Carlisle,PA Ship Captain, Merchant, Tavern Owner
Ann CurtisClay X 1724-1789 John Hesselius Schwarz Gallery, Collection 68 Mother of 13
ThomasClay X 1753-1793 John Hesselius Philadelphia Museum of Art Fourth son of Slator Clay
SlatorClay Jr.   1754-1821 John Hesselius Freeman's Auctions Fifth son of Slator Clay
RoeloffdeHaes   Roeloff Sr 1623-1655,
Johannes 1645-1695,
Roeloff Jr. -1716?
Unkown Private Collection
Dorcas Montgomery Van DykeDupont X 1806-1838 Thomas Sully (1783-1872) Hagley Museum and Library
Anna DorotheaFinney X 1735-1817 John Hesselius Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, Delaware
GeorgeGray X 1840-1925 Clawson Hammitt Delaware Historical Society U. S. Senate (1885-1899), Judge
FrancisHopkinson X 1737-1791 Robert Edge Pine U. Penn Archives Signer of the Declaration of Independence (for NJ).
Customs collector, New Castle, 1772
JohnJanvier X 1808-1890 John Carlin (1813-1891) Private Collection President Union Line Steamship, NC&FT RR, NC Water Co
Trustee NCC
Ann Van DykeJohns   1768-1839 Jacob Eicholtz/James Reid Lambdin New Castle Historical Society/State Portrait Commission *
JohnJohns   1796-1876 James Reid Lambdin Muscarelle Museum of Art at The College of William & Mary, in Virginia Bishop of Virginia
President W&M
President Va. Theol. Seminary
KenseyJohns Jr.   1791-1857 U. S. House of Rep. (1827-1831), Chancellor (1832-1857)
KenseyJohns Sr.   1759-1848 Jacob Eicholtz/James Reid Lambdin New Castle Historical Society/State Portrait Commission * Chief Justice DE Supreme Court (1799-1830), Chancellor (1830-1832)
BenjaminLatrobe   1764-1820 Charles Willson Peale The White House Engineer, Architect
JohnLewden X 1739-1809 Delaware Historical Society Varied businesses
ThomasMacdonough   1783-1825 Gilbert Stuart Wikipedia Commander, USN
JamesMcCallmont X 1755-1824 Charles St.-Memin, Thomas Sully Frick Art Reference Library Physician/Ferry monopoly
Trustee NCC
ThomasMcKean X 1734-1817 Charles Willson Peale Wikipedia Signer of the Declaration of Independence, President of Congress, President of Delaware, Governor of Pennsylvania
Mary BordenMcKean X 1744 -March 12, 1773 Frick Art Reference Library
LouisaMcWilliam   1784-1849 C. K. Palmer Private Collection
Louisa Ridgley DorseyRead X 1792-1835 copied from Thomas Sully Private Collection
WilliamRead X 1767-1846 Spoilum,
Samuel Sartain (1885?)
Martyn Gregory Gallery,
Consul General, Kingdom of Naples
Opium merchant with China
GeorgeRead Jr.   1765-1836 Samuel Sartain after Adolf Ulrik Wertmuller Private collection Chief Justice (1793-1798)
Trustee NCC
GeorgeRead Sr. X 1733-1798 Unknown after Robert Edge Pine Delaware Historical Society Signer Declaration of Independence and Constitution
U. S. Senator, President of Delaware
George BRodney   1803-1883 Private collection U. S. Rep. (1841-1845)
JamesRogers X 1780-1855 Masons Grand Masters Attorney General (1815-1840)
Catherine Van GezellRoss X 1689-c1748 School of Gustavus Hesselius Delaware Historical Society
GeorgeRoss X 1679-1753 Clawson Hammitt copy of John Hesselius Delaware Historical Society Rector Immanuel Church
GeorgeRoss   1730-1779 John Hesselius Private collection Signer of the Declaration of Independence (for PA)
Colonel Continental Army
Continental Congress
ThomasStockton   1781-1846 Ellen Wendell, crayon on paper State Portrait Commission* Governor of DE
WilliamStrickland   1788-1854 John Neagle Architect
CharlesThomas   1790-1848 Rembrandt Peale? Governor, President, NC Turnpike Co. Trustee NCC
Catherine RossThompson   1740-1809 attr. Benjamin West (1738-1820) Private collection
Mary CurtisVan Bebber   1702-1782 John Hesselius New Castle Historical Society
Mary Van LeuvenighVan Dyke X 1768-1831 John Crawley Delaware Historical Society
NicholasVan Dyke Jr. X 1770-1826 John Crawley Delaware Historical Society U. S. Representative (1807-1811)
U. S. Senate (1817-1826)
Trustee NCC
NicholasVan Dyke Sr.   1738-1789 President of Delaware (1783-1786)
Continental Congressman (1777-1781), entered politics in 1774 as a member of the Boston Relief Committee (vs Tea Party closure of harbor), Trustee NCC
HardingWilliams X 1758-1813 Abraham Delanoy Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover, Delaware Captain
JacobusWilliams   Private collection
* The State Portrait Commission since the early 20th century (now under Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs) has commissioned artists to paint and/or copy portraits of statesmen and women thought to be important to add to the state's collection. As of 2013, the State Portrait Commission collection includes about 300 images.

I'm grateful for help on this page to Heather Coyle, Curator of American Art, Delaware Art Museum and Louisa Wood Ruby, Head Photoarchives Research, Frick Art Reference Library.

Placeholder images are for people whose portraits were known, for example in the Smithsonian database, or where there was likely a portrait, but no location is known.
James L. Meek '14 NC-CHAP