Portrait of Maria Knox Innes Todd Crittenden (1796-1851), 1843
John Neagle (American, 1796-1865)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Lillian Worthington Crittenden Rowan 2018.22
How much will it cost? $2,700.00
This historically important portrait made its return to Kentucky last December, after being out-of-state for nearly a century. Maria Knox Innes Crittenden was the daughter of Federal Judge Harry Innes, whose portrait by Matthew Harris Jouett is also in the Speed’s collection. At age 30, Maria Crittenden was married to Senator John Jordan Crittenden (1787-1863), a close political ally to Senator Henry Clay, and the 17th governor of Kentucky from 1848-1850, who eventually served as Attorney General of the United States.
Neagle’s portrait of First Lady Maria Crittenden was engraved for the Kentucky state currency, an example of which is also in the Speed Art Museum’s permanent collection.
The painting requires a complete varnish removal, which has discolored over the decades. Years of hanging above fireplace mantles has added a layer of soot and grime, which can be easily cleaned off, as it sits atop the protective varnish layer. Cleaning tests indicate that the results will be transformative – the painting is full of rose, soft blue, and peach tones. This artwork, and its importance to the history of Kentucky, will be an important addition to the Speed’s galleries of Kentucky art.