[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
GELLER, William Overend (in the style of)
Portrait of Gaudeamus Tennant
oil on board / 12 inches by 9.85 inches
Geller was a British painter and engraver active in London during the first half of the 19th century. As a printer, “…he was an accomplished master of mixed-method engraving which included various printing techniques such as mezzotinting, aquatinting, engraving and etching. He engraved both works by other artists such as Sir Joshua Reynolds and also his own work, spanning a variety of genres.” Portraits such as this study of Gaudeamus Tennant (born 1793) form the bulk of his own artistic output. Though unsigned, this preliminary study is purported to be from Geller’s hand.
If the Tennant brothers Horace, Pliny, and Virgil were the “fathers” of Agincourt, Gaudeamus Tennant (born 1793) was its grandfather. His own origins are cloudy and checkered, a typical early American story: a rise from humble origins, emigration to the United States early in the Republic, and making financial success in the Delaware River Valley. So, this is not only the oldest work in the Collection, it is also the piece closest to our shared heritage.
Those involved with the C.C. on a frequent basis have called this portrait “Rochester” after the Orson Welles role in “Wuthering Heights”.
[Just noticed this is post #1300!]