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 Felix Thomas Sharples  (1786 - 1844)

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Lived/Active: Virginia/North Carolina / England      Known for: pastel portrait painting

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Ad Code: 3
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Portrait of a member of the Elizabeth Fry family of English Quakers
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The son and student of James Sharples and James' third wife, Ellen Wallace Sharples, Felix Sharples left for America from England in 1794 with his parents, a brother and sister.  It is thought that James Sharples believed that in America it would be possible to make a good living by painting portraits of the leading American figures of the time.  The sea voyage did not go as planned because their ship, according to Ellen Sharples’ diaries, was captured by a French privateer and James and the family were taken to Brest where they were kept prisoners for seven months. 

The following year they were eventually released and continued on with their voyage to America, and eventually arrived in New York. James Sharples started working in New York and Philadelphia, which was the then seat of government and a place full of eminent people, including local and national politicians.  By 1797, the family was living in Philadelphia, and following the father from place to place.  In 1811, the father died, and his wife and two of the children returned to England but Felix, age 25 stayed behind working as a pastel portrait artist and dying in 1830 at age 44.  His residences included Virginia and North Carolina from 1806 to at least 1824.

Between 1808 and 1811, Felix Sharples had executed pastels in Norfolk, Suffolk, and many of the Tidewater counties. As security for money borrowed, he left in the State of Virginia a large collection of pastels by himself and other members of his family, which formed the nucleus of the Sharples Collection in Independence Hall. He also did copies of paintings including one by his father, James Sharples, in the New York Historical Society of Alexander Hamilton.  Felix Sharples original painting of James Monroe is in the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art
McClures Magazine, 1897, Volume 8, pp. 512

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