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Theodore Newell Ely

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Image of Theodore Newell Ely

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John Singer Sargent
American (1856 - 1925) Primary

Theodore Newell Ely

Late 19th century - early 20th century
Charcoal on paper

23 1/2 in. x 13 1/2 in. (59.69 cm x 34.29 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: 1978.1
Geography: North and Central America, United States
Classification: Fine and Visual Arts; Drawings
Culture/Nationality: American
Description: This charcoal drawing is a bust-length portrait of an older man with white mustache and thinning hair. He is seated in a three-quarter view, but looks directly out at the viewer with a penetrating gaze. He wears a white collar shirt with tie and jacket.

The portrait depicts Theodore Newell Ely, a resident of Wyndham from 1893-1916. Ely was a railroad executive and developer. He was responsible for a revolutionary development in the boilers and fire boxes of steam locomotors, and was involved in many technical and scientific associations. In 1893 he purchased Wyndham, a name he gave to the property, and added what is now known as the Ely room as a music room for his daughter, Gertrude.

Ely’s likeness was drawn by the American artist John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), whose large signature is in the lower right. While Sargent is best known for his portraits in oil, here one can see the artist at work in a different medium. The drawing displays the realism for which Sargent is known and conveys a sense of the sitter’s personality. The quick charcoal strokes, the rendering of detail, and Ely’s gaze bring to life a figure of Wyndham’s history. Given to Bryn Mawr College by his granddaughters Jane Ely Dole, Elisabeth Ely Shedd, Gertrude Ely Carter, Katrina Ely Carter, 1977.

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  • Sheet Dimensions: 23 1/2 x 13 1/2 in. (59.69 x 34.29 cm)

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Theodore Newell Ely |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=6/5/2023 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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