All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Governor's Portrait Coming Home

The last of seven known painted portraits of Maine's first governor, William King, is returning to the state. Portland native James Gore King VI of Alaska—a descendant of King's half-brother—is donating the family heirloom to the Maine State Museum.
Perhaps the most famous King portrait, by early American artist Gilbert Stuart, hangs in the governor's office at the State House, together with a Stuart portrait of King's wife, Ann.

The miniature that the museum is about to acquire is believed to have been painted by Edward Green Malbone about 1796, while King, who was then in his late 20s, was representing Topsham in the Massachusetts Legislature in Boston. Although less celebrated than Stuart, Malbone was a well-known portrait painter of the day, according to the museum.

Twenty four years later, Maine broke away from Massachusetts and became a state in its own right and King, by then in his early 50s, was chosen as Maine's first governor. He died in Bath in 1852 and is buried there. [Link]

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