Painted Portrait of Thomas Meredith

Item

Legacies Classification
Memorial Artwork
Memorial Type
Visual Work of Art
Memorial Context
Memorialized Subject
Meredith, Thomas
Title
Painted Portrait of Thomas Meredith
Background and Context
The portrait is believed to have been made soon after Thomas Meredith’s marriage to Georgia Sears while the couple was in Philadelphia, according to the college historian Mary Lynch Johnson.
Born on July 17, 1795, Meredith was a Baptist leader who preached along the east coast and was a founding member of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, as well as the founder and editor of a denominational newspaper, the Biblical Recorder. The Meredith family owned slaves during his ministry in North Carolina and throughout his marriage to Georgia Sears and wrote a proslavery pamphlet in 1847. Thomas believed that good education made better Christians and supported robust education for men and women. His support for women’s education led to his name being adopted for Meredith College in 1909, originally chartered as the Baptist Female University in 1891. The portrait hangs beside the portrait of his wife in the Julia Hamlet Harris Rare Book Room in the Carlyle Campbell Library.
Meredith, Thomas
Painted Portrait of Georgia Meredith
Physical Description
The painting is 27 ¼” by 22 ½” in a gold-colored frame not original to the painting. The medium is oil on linen canvas. The portrait is part of a pair; the other portrait being of Thomas Meredith’s wife Georgia. The portrait’s composition is typical of antebellum portraiture. A dark background with no discernable features and a bright, well-lit central figure in period clothing facing left. The figure depicts a young Thomas who has very pale skin and dark brown, short, straight hair.
Memorial Inscription
The portrait has no inscription.
Creator/Participating Person(s)
In The History of Meredith College, author Mary Lynch Johnson suggests the portraits were made while the couple was in Philadelphia and were believed to be the work of Gilbert Stuart. However, after restorations preformed in 2005, restorers believe this to be incorrect.
Date created, installed or dedicated
1820
Date Modified
2005
Funded by
Donated to Meredith College in 1966 by Claude and St. John Ralls, sons of Ada Tolson Ralls, a granddaughter of Thomas Meredith.
Location: Institution, City, State

Position: 452 (5 views)

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