The New International Encyclopædia/Harding, Chester

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HARDING, Chester (1792-1866). An American portrait painter. He was born in Conway, Mass., September 11, 1792. In 1812 he enlisted in the army as a drummer boy. Owing to failure in business, he went to Pittsburg, where he was engaged as a house-painter. At this time he became interested in portrait painting, and went to Paris, Ky. After a short time spent in study at Philadelphia he spent successful seasons at Saint Louis and Washington. In 1823 he established a studio in Boston, where he enjoyed great popularity. In 1832 he went to Europe. In London he met David Leslie and Sir Thomas Lawrence, and during a stay of three years painted the portraits of several prominent Englishmen, including the Dukes of Essex, Norfolk, and Hamilton, Samuel Rogers, and Lord Aberdeen. The chief characteristic of his portraits is their indication and appreciation of character. Harding had many friends, one of whom was Daniel Webster, whose portrait by Harding hangs in the Bar Association, New York. He died in Boston, April 1, 1866. Among his principal portraits are those of Washington Allston, John Randolph (Corcoran Gallery, Washington), General Sherman, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Chief Justice Marshall, Charles Carroll, and Presidents Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams.