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The Flower Girl, 1846

The Flower Girl, 1846

Charles Cromwell Ingham (1796 – 1863)

Charles Cromwell Ingham was a leading New York City portraitist. Born in Dublin, Ireland, and trained there at the Royal Dublin Society, he arrived in America in 1816, emigrating with his parents. He received instruction from portraitist William Cumming and quickly exhibiting at the American Academy of Fine Arts, quickly rose to prominence at a time when Henry Inman was probably New York’s foremost portrait specialist. Critics, praising Ingham, cautioned against confusing the two, which given the similarity of their surnames has, in fact, predictably occurred.

In 1826, Ingham abandoned his ties to the American Academy because that year he was a founder of the National Academy of Design, and became very active, serving on the Council as vice-president and participating in exhibitions. However, he became estranged from the Academy for seven years because of perception that the Academy was lax in procedures to add new members. In 1858, he resumed affiliation, and subsequently was elected vice president for two terms.

The masterpiece of Ingham’s early years is Amelia Palmer (circa 1829, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City), wherein the artist revealed a true romantic sensibility; Miss Palmer emerges dramatically from a lovely wooded setting. Flower Girl, a likeness of Marie Perkins of New Orleans (1846, Metropolitan Museum of Art), is a fuller figure revealed in full, even light, more straightforward and sentimental. Both paintings include beautiful, lush, flower still life, echoing the appeal of the young women who are the subjects of the portraits.

Charles Ingham died in 1863.

Sources:
David Dearinger, Paintings and Sculpture in the Collection of the National Academy of Design, 1826-1925
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Artists
Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from the Archives of AskART