SKU: A01644 Category:


Description: In this autograph letter signed Frederick Townsend informs “My dear Erastus” [Erastus Corning Jr.] about Johann Culverhouse’s intention “to dispose of a large painting of his entitled, ‘The Last Moments of De Soto’” [or the Death of De Soto, 1873]. As the painting costs $5000, Townsend appeals to Corning’s philanthropic disposition. He writes, “I have since thought that it being a painting connected with the early history of our country it might not be… inappropriate… it were it confided (?) to the care of some institution of learning, or perhaps equally well were it purchased by the State for the walls of the State Library.”

The Death of De Soto 1873 (now in the New Britain Museum of Art) depicts the death of the Spanish conquistador who searched Southeastern regions of America unsuccessfully for gold. His men are said to have secretly buried him in the Mississippi.

Handwritten on two sides of an 8” x 5” sheet of laid paper. Signed: “F.T. Oct 6, 1874”. Item #A01644

Frederick Townsend (1825-1897) founded the 3rd New York Infantry Regiment and served with the US Army 18th and 9th infantry regiments. He also served three terms as the Adjutant General of New York from 1857-61 and in 1880.

Johann M. Culverhouse (1820-1891?) was a Dutch painter. He worked in America, mostly in New York City from about 1849-1891. His representative works are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the New York Historical Society; the Brooklyn Museum of Art in Brooklyn, NY; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; the New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, CT; and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, CT.

Erastus Corning Jr (1827-1897) was a prominent Albany businessman and philanthropist. He was also a notable floriculturist and horticulturalist. He was known to have the finest orchid collection in the U.S. and published a catalogue of orchids. He left his collection of more the 10, 000 specimens of moths and butterflies to the New York State Museum. He was also the President and Director of several businesses started by father, including the Albany Iron Works, Albany City National bank, New York Central Railroad, etc.

Condition: Mailing fold lines (with a separation almost starting in blank upper margin). Generally in good condition.