Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Title General William Moultrie
Artist Peale, Rembrandt
Date 1795
Medium oil
Support canvas
Dimensions 30 x 25 inches
Signature NA
Inscription NA
Credit line Gift of Major A. Moultrie Brailsford
Accession Number 1949.003.0001
Collection Painting
Sitter's dates 1730-1805
Description The son of a Scottish physician, Moultrie was a member of the General Assembly (1776-8, 1783-4) and served in the first and second Provincial Congresses. He was a Captain in the Provincial Regiment during the Cherokee War (1760-1) and later was made Colonel of the Second South Carolina Regiment. He was in command of the palmetto fort on Sullivan's Island June 28, 1776 when the British fleet was repelled. The fort, later named in his honor, is depicted behind him in the painting together with the flag he designed - a blue field with a white crescent and the word "Liberty" written upon it. Taken prisoner when Charleston surrendered in 1780, he was held until he was exchanged for General Burgoyne in 1782. In 1783, he was in the State House of Representatives and was Governor 1785-7 and 1792-4.

The attribution of the portrait has been a long-standing puzzle. Charles Willson Peale seems to have painted the General prior to October 15, 1782, before his promotion, and there is only one star on his epaulet. Its location unknown, this painting is identified through several copies and enlarged replicas. The Carolina Art Association's version was done later by either C. W. or Rembrandt Peale, and shows the General with two stars. Although scholars are evenly divided on the subject, proponents of Rembrandt cite the greater three-dimensionality and modeling of the figure as clues to the son's involvement. It has also been suggested that his brother James was responsible for the landscape behind the General.

Notes:
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "Selections from the Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1977
Subjects Moultrie
Sword
Military officers
Military uniforms
man
Portraits
Figures
Image 003\1949.03.01.JPG