Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Harding, Chester

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HARDING, Chester, artist, b. in Conway, Mass., 1 Sept., 1792; d. in Boston, Mass., 1 April, 1866. His family removed to Caledonia, N. Y., when he was fourteen years old, and he was early thrown upon his own resources for support, and eventually became a house-painter in Pittsburg, Pa. He worked at this occupation a year, when acquaintance with a travelling portrait-painter led him to attempt art. Having succeeded in producing a crude portrait of his wife, he devoted himself enthusiastically to the profession. He painted several other portraits at Pittsburg, and then went to Paris, Ky., where he finished 100 portraits in six months at $25 each. After receiving slight instruction in Philadelphia, he established himself in St. Louis. In August, 1823, he went to London, and spent three years in studying and painting, when he returned to Boston, where he became very popular. In 1843 he went to England again, and afterward resided in Springfield, Mass., spending his winters frequently in St. Louis or in some of the southern cities. Among the distinguished persons who sat for him were James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, John Marshall, Charles Carroll, William Wirt, Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, Washington Allston, the Dukes of Norfolk, Hamilton, and Sussex, Samuel Rogers, and Sir Archibald Allison. His last work was a portrait of Gen. William T. Sherman. His portrait of Daniel Webster is now in the possession of the Bar association of New York, and that of John Randolph is in the Corcoran gallery at Washington, D. C. He wrote “My Egotistography,” which has been printed, but not published.