Chester Harding
American, 1792 ‑ 1866
Portrait of the John Speed Smith Family, 1819
Oil on canvas
97 9/16 × 76 1/2 in. (247.8 × 194.3 cm.)
Gift of William Stucky
Conserved, in part, with gifts from Mr. and Mrs. William O. Alden Jr.,
Mr. and Mrs. John W. Barr III, Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Farrer, Mr. and Mrs. Gordon B. Ford, Mr. Julius Hegeler, Mrs. Nina J. Milner, J. Royden Peabody Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Tommy Smith, Mr. and Mrs. John S. Speed, and Mrs. James Ross Todd  1956.14

On the Rise
Imagine having a portrait like this in your first house. What would it say about you? At more than eight feet tall, it is a testament to the aspirations of both the subject and the young artist who created it. It was Chester Harding’s first full-length and group portrait. John Speed Smith was a rising political star, recently elected to the state legislature. His young wife, Eliza Lewis Clay, was the daughter of one of Kentucky’s wealthiest men. The portrait—with its colorful ingrain carpet and tasteful furnishings—documents life among Kentucky’s wealthy citizens.