(21 April 1789 - 7 March 1868)
An early book, "Art and Artists in Connecticut", by H.W. French, written in 1879.
George Freeman b. Connecticut. Nov. 1816, Montreal; England, (1789-1868); August 1817, New York, Philadelphia.
Raised on a farm in Spring Hill, Connecticut. Little is known about his youth except that his interest in art began early and he was apparently self-taught. By the age of nineteen, he was living with his sister and supporting himself as an itenerant artist traveling throughout New York City, although he still traveled often for commissions. After a stay in Montreal in 1816, he relocated the next year to London, where he would achieve his greatest success. He painted the Duchess of Leeds in 1825; a letter from his wife written in 1827 lists a string of aristocratic sitters; and in 1841 he painted Queen Victoria. His letters to his brother Shubael reveal both great prosperity and homesickness. Freeman returned to the United States in 1841, after more than twenty years abroad. Shortly after his arrival in America, Freeman painted Martin Van Buren, a longtime friend, in a commission that would ensure the artist continued success in the American market. He exhibited widely at the National Academy of Design, the American Academy, the Artists' Fund Society, and at the Boston Athenaeum . After a busy decade in the 1840s, commissions leveled off, and he entered a phase of semi-retirement. Following a brief return to England in 1856, Freeman settled comfortably in the suburbs of New York City.
[ © Ref. Copyright Ownership wilnitsky.com; George Freeman Family Correspondence, 1808-1863; © Copyright Ownership: Archives of American Art; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; A Dictionary of Painters of Miniatures, London, 1926; © Copyright Ownership: George C. Groce and Davic H. Wallace, The New York Historical Society's Dictionary of Artists in America, New Haven, 1957;
John Quincy Adams Papers
A record of these sittings appears in three diary entries: "Mr. G. Freeman, a Miniature Portrait Painter ...wishes to take my picture and I engaged to call upon him at his lodgings to-morrow." A few days later: "Sat for my miniature to Mr. Freeman, lodging at Mr. M'Leod's." Lastly he recorded calling on Mr. Freeman, who had packed his trunks to go to Baltimore and Philadelphia, but unpacked and took a three-hour sitting, "*which entirely exhausted my patience." (*entries of 8 12, 16 March, 1838)
Mrs. Adams reported these sittings to her son Charles, mentioning that Mr. Freeman wish to havee the likeness to take to England to be engraved. He had also brought with him a portrait of Van Buren as a specimen of his work which, she said, "is a remarkably fine likeness greatly embellished and beautified and yields a handsome proof of the Paintets skill." She added: "He has taken Mrs. Madison but I believe it is not completed yet." A week later the portrait won her approval a "a beaufiful likeness of Mrs. Madison with which your Father is quite enchanted."
Freeman, who was born in Spring Hill, Connecticut, went to England about 1813 for twenty-four years and is said to have painted Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Apparently his best-known work is a miniature painted in Philadelphia of Mrs. Edward Biddle. H. B. Wehle said of him: "But for the miniature Freeman painted of this lovely lady he would probably be almost forgotten today."
With comments such as the foregoing in mind, we must again regret that still another likeness of Adams is lost.
[To CFA, 8-14, 18-22 March 1838 (Adams Papers); Harry B. Wehle, American Miniatures 1730-1850 ...and a Biographical Dictionary of Artists by Theodore Bolton, N. Y., 1927, p. 49, 36-87; © Copyright Ownership: Portraits of John Quincy Adams and His Wife, Andrew Oliver, Harvard University Press, Jan 1, 1970. Webmaster agrees to remove this content upon request of author. Funds for editing The Adams Papers were originally furnish by Time, Inc., on behalf of Life, to the Massachusetts Historical Society, under whose supervision the editorial work is being done. Further funds have been provide by a grant from the Ford Foundation to the National Archives Trust Fund Board in support of this and four other major documentary publications. In common with these and many other enterprises like them. The Adams Papers benefits from the contrinuing and indispensable cooperation and aid of the National Historical Publications Commission, whose chairman is the Archivist of the United States.]
Edmund Freeman (1683-1766). He came from Sandwich, Massachusetts in the 1730s and settled in Mansfield. In the Freeman line, there are so many Edmund Freeman it gets confusing. A lot of the documents were on a particular lineage chart. Other documents were lots of letters between Freeman Family members, wills, deeds, and photographs of the Freeman houses and Freeman ancestors. Perhaps most interesting were the original paintings of George Freeman (1789-1868), who was an accomplished painter and miniaturist from Mansfield. Some of these paintings appeared in the Freeman genealogy, however these are the originals. He is the great-grandson of Edmund Freeman (1683-1766).