March 12: Titian Ramsay Peale (1885)

Anyone who has visited a museum featuring paintings of leading American Revolution figures will recognize the name of artist Charles Willson Peale. Peale is also responsible for starting one of the first museums in the United States. Peale made art a family business and named many of his children after famous European masters, i.e. Raphaelle, Rembrandt. His 16th child, Titian, was named for the 16th Century Venetian painter. Titian Peale inherited his father’s artistic, as well as scientific inclinations. He became quite adept at preserving and illustrating natural historical specimens. One of the crowning achievements of his early career as a naturalist was participating in the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1838-42, which explored and surveyed the Pacific Ocean and surrounding lands.

Like many “starving artists,” Peale had difficulty supporting his family with his work. In 1849, he took a job with the U.S. Patent Office in Washington as an assistant examiner. He remained in this post until his retirement in 1873, while continuing painting and a new-found interest in photography on the side. The first time that Peale shows up in Epiphany’s records is when his wife, Lucy, served as a sponsor at the baptism of one of rector Charles Hall’s children in 1858. Titian Peale was confirmed at Epiphany in 1864 and on several occasions he served as a baptismal sponsor, including that of Arthur Peale Miller, obviously a namesake.

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