Item #7683 John Randolph Esq. The Roanoke Orator. Arthur Joseph Stansbury, by or after.
John Randolph Esq. The Roanoke Orator.

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[Stansbury, Arthur Joseph, by or after.]

John Randolph Esq. The Roanoke Orator.

[Ca. 1825.]. Hand-colored etching, 7.2” x 4.9,” affixed to larger sheet, 6” x 10”. Titled in manuscript, light blue watercolor border. Pencil note on mount below print reading “From Jno W. Taylor Speaker H.R.” Remnants of newspaper clippings affixed to sheet along lower edge of print. CONDITION: Good, dampstain to upper left quadrant, rippled.

A rare etching of politician John Randolph (1773–1833), here identified as “the Roanoke Orator,” a nod to the fierce debating skills and biting sarcasm that made him a feared opponent in Congress.

This full-length portrait of Randolph shows him mid-stride, wearing a gray overcoat, a light purple riding hat, and blue gloves. The etching is closely related to a watercolor by Arthur Joseph Stansbury (1781–1865) in the collections of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

A scion of several notable Virginia families, as well as Pocahontas, “Randolph of Roanoke,” as he was widely known, was an important advocate of states’ rights and a fierce opponent of centralized government. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1799 and served in the House almost continuously until 1829. Though he freed his own slaves, he rejected federal interference with the institution of slavery, as well as the institution of a national bank, protective tariffs, and federally-financed improvements to roads and canals. In 1820 he represented Southern planters in their resistance to the Missouri Compromise, which outlawed slavery in new western territory. His denunciation of Henry Clay for backing John Quincy Adams in the disputed election of 1824 led to a duel with Clay—from which both men emerged unharmed. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson sent Randolph on a special mission to Russia, but poor health forced him to return to the U.S. after only a few weeks at his post. He died in 1833.

Arthur Joseph Stansbury was an artist, author, preacher, and journalist. Born in New York, Stansbury graduated from Columbia University in 1799 before entering into a bookselling and stationary business with his brother Abraham. He then became a minister until changing careers again circa 1822, when he moved to Washington, D.C. and reported on court debates and congressional activity for the National Intelligencer. Stansbury created a well-known portrait of John Quincy Adams as he lay dying “in the Rotunda of the Capitol” (LOC) after suffering a stroke on 21 February 1848. Lithographs based on Stansbury’s portrait were published by N.Currier and Sarony & Major.

This print was formerly in the annotated scrapbook of one Lyman Barker Langworthy (1787–1880), an American jeweler and watchmaker who worked in Quebec for many years before leaving at the start of the War of 1812. Langworthy was active in Ballston Spa, Rochester, and other New York locales, and in addition to his regular trade served stints as Sheriff of Saratoga County and Superintendent of the Tonawanda Railroad. As the Langworthy Family history outlines, “He was a prominent Mason, trustee of the Rochester Savings Bank, trustee and deacon of the First Baptist Church, associate editor of the Rural New Yorker and prominent in many other ways” (p. 223). He also wrote his own family history, entitled Memorandum and Reminiscences: Personal Sketches and Memoirs of the Family Langworthy.

A pencil note below the print indicates that Langworthy received the print from John W. Taylor of New York, who was twice elected Speaker of the House of U.S. Representatives, in 1820 and 1825. Taylor was from Ballston Spa, where Langworthy lived in the 1820s.

A very rare portrait etching of a prominent and colorful Virginia politician.

REFERENCES: “John Randolph” at Britannica online; “The original sketch of Mr. Adams, taken when dying by A.J.S. in the Rotunda of the Capitol at Washington,” Library of Congress online.

Item #7683

Price: $3,500.00

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