William James Hubard
(20 August 1807 - 15 February 1862)
Hubard arrived in the United States from England in 1824. In 1825-1826 he worked in Boston, Massachusetts, setting up an exhibition known as the "Hubard Gallery" at Julien Hall (corner Congress and Milk Streets). At the time Hubard would have been about 18 or 19 years old. A local newspaper reported "there is a great variety of pictures -- likenesses, groups of animals, landscape scenery, caricatures,etc. -- all cut with a simple pair of scissors, without the aid of any machinery whatever, and which a spectator might, at a hasty glance, take for painting." He received raves in the press: "He exercises his scissors with so much dexterity and skill, that an accurate profile, even of the most 'unmeaning face,' can be procured in twenty-five seconds, without the use of steam." Local resident John George Metcalf visited the gallery in 1825, and wrote in his diary:
Hubard later moved to Richmond, Virginia where he married. On January 14, 1853, he was given exclusive license by the Virginia General Assembly to make bronze copies of the marble statue of George Washington by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, producing them as of 1856, with a total of six in all.
In February 1862, he was killed in an accidental explosion while making munitions in Richmond for the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Works by Hubard reside in the collections of Historic New England; and the Smithsonian. Wikipedia
Willie and Ella Children of the Artist
Painter, silhouette artist, and sculptor. Chiefly a portrait painter, he also undertook historical and literary subjects. His distinctive, miniaturistic paintings portray full-length subjects within crisply detailed settings. Cabinet-size works also include a few imaginative themes, such as the haunting "Dream of Columbus" (Valentine Richmond [Virginia] History Center, early 1850s), which pictures the dozing explorer seated in his study, while in a visionary apparition, ships approach an alpine-flavored new world in the background. The diminutive portraits, such as Charles Carroll of Carrollton (Metropolitan Museum, c. 1830), forcefully evoke individual character despite their size.
Born in Whitechurch, Shropshire, while still a child Hubard gained renown for his ability to cut portrait silhouettes. He toured Great Britain with a traveling showman, who brought him to the United States in 1824. While making silhouettes in New York and Boston, he became interested in portrait painting and in 1826 began working professionally. In changing specialties, he apparently received advice and encouragement from Robert W. Weir, Gilbert Stuart, and Thomas Sully. He worked in New York, the mid-Atlantic states, and Virginia before traveling to Italy and France for about three years. There his style became more academically polished but less individual, and afterward he less often worked in the small format he had so effectively exploited. Soon after his return in 1841, he settled in Richmond, Virginia.
There in 1853, newly interested in sculpture, he opened a bronze foundry, where he most notably produced six bronze casts of Jean Antoine Houdon's standing George Washington (state capitol, Richmond, 1785–88). During the Civil War, the plant was converted to the manufacture of war munitions. Hubard died from injuries sustained in an accidental explosion there. The Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artist
Birth: August 20, 1807, Warwick, England
"William James Hubard came from England before the War between the States. On reaching Gloucester County, Virginia, he painted several portraits of the Tabb family, and married my mother's first cousin, Miss Maria Mason Tabb. He moved to Richmond and had a home on what is now the corner of Park Avenue and Shafer streets. In those days that part of the city was all bare fields, and no other persons lived near that I know of. Across the road from his home in the middle of a field he built a studio where he did a good deal of painting. He assisted Captain John Mercer Brooke in constructing the first, famous Brooke gun, many of which were used by the Confederate forces. Tradition has it that the first gun of this type was mounted on the ironclad Virginia. Later Hubard was casting shells for this gun when one of them exploded. He was fearfully burned and all the contents of the studio destroyed. His son, William, was the first person to reach the scene on hearing the explosion; he carried his father to the house where he died in a short while, on February 17, 1862. Someone immediately brought the news to my parents (Judge and Mrs. William W. Crump), and they went out and ministered to the bereaved family. Hubard's property was confiscated by the United States Government after the war closed, and his wife and two children returned to Gloucester. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia."
The above was written by Mrs. William B. Lightfoot of Richmond, Virginia, whose mother was Miss Mary Tabb of Gloucester County, Virginia. It is published in Virginia Historical Portraiture 1585-1830, by Alexander Wilbourne Weddell, on page 417. William was born at Warwick, England, on August 20, 1807. William immigrated, in 1824. Destination:. He married Maria Mason Tabb at Ware Church, Gloucester County, Virginia, in 1837. William died on at Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, at age 54. His body was interred in February 1862, at Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, at Hollywood Cemetery.
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View painter's art: William James Hubard (1809-1862)