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Colonel Nathaniel Rochester

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Colonel Nathaniel Rochester

before 1831
30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm)

Unknown, American
John James Audubon
American (Les Cayes, Santo Domingo [now Haiti], 1785 - 1851, New York, NY) Previous attribution

Object Type: Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Thomas J. Watson
Accession Number: 1934.1
Location: Currently on view
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This formal gentleman was the founder of the city of Rochester, New York. His portrait was originally thought to have been painted by John James Audubon, but current scholarship has weighed in against that opinion.

Nathaniel Rochester was an enterprising individual, which was a characteristic of many early settlers. He founded businesses and churches, and held governmental positions. He was the first president of the Rochester Athenaeum, the precursor to the Rochester Institute of Technology, and he was instrumental in the organization of Monroe County and the building of the Erie Canal. His practical and inventive bent may have led him to wear four-lens spectacles, which allowed him to read small print and see at a distance using the same pair of glasses.

[Gallery label text, 2007]

Inscription, verso: Nathaniel Rochester/painted by J. J. Audubon

John Rochester (1746-1794), brother of the sitter, Westmoreland County, VA; to his daughter, Artemisia Rochester Logan (1787-1813), Boyle County, KY; to her daughter, Emilie Jane Logan (1807-1891), Boyle County, KY; Ehrich Galleries, New York, NY before 1924; purchased by Hiram Burlingham (1827-1880), New York, NY, before 1928; sold at his estate sale, American Art Association-Anderson Galleries, New York, NY, January 11, 1934; purchased at that sale by Chester Dale, New York, NY, 1934; purchased from him by Thomas J. Watson, New York, NY, 1934; his gift to the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY for the Gallery in 1934

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Web Links See links to web pages and lesson plans
Seeing America Inservice Materials from a teacher in-service presentation Spring 2008
Seeing America Chapter on this portrait of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, written by Peter Ogden Brown.
Nathaniel Rochester 1780-1810 Photo of Nathaniel Rochester from the Rochester Images Project, direct url An additional image of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester from the Rochester Images Project may be viewed at

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