Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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INMAN, William, naval officer, born in Utica, New York, in 1797; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 23 October, 1874. His parents were English. He entered the navy as a midshipman on 1 January, 1812, served on the "lakes during the war of 1812-'15, was promoted lieutenant on 1 April, 1818, and was in charge of one of the two boats that captured a pirate vessel on the coast of Cuba in 1823. He became a commander on 24 May, 1838, and was assigned to the steamer "Michigan" on the lakes in 1844-'6. After being promoted captain on 2 June, 1850, he commanded the steam frigate "Susquehanna," of the East India squadron, in 1851. From 1859 till 1861 he was in command of the squadron on the coast of Africa, which recaptured and landed in Liberia 3,600 slaves. He was promoted commodore and placed on the retired list on 4 April, 1867, and at the time of his death was the senior officer of his rank.--His brother, Henry, painter, born in Utica, New York, 20 October, 1801; died in New York city, 17 January, 1846, intended to follow the life of a soldier, and had obtained an appointment to the United States military academy, but a visit to the studio of John Wesley Jarvis decided his career: and, with the permission of his father, he became a pupil of that artist. Jarvis. who exclaimed at the first sight of the youth that he had "the very head for a painter," willingly took him into his studio, where he served a seven years' apprenticeship, devoting himself at first to miniature painting, in which he became very proficient. At the age of twenty-one he opened a studio of his own, and soon acquired a high reputation as a portrait painter. His fame was first established by a portrait of Chief-Justice Marshall. He also painted a full-length cabinet portrait of Bishop William White. Mr. Inman was one of the founders and the first vice president of the National academy of design in New York city in 1824-'5. In 1832 he removed to Philadelphia, and a few years later, for the sake of a rural life, to Mount Holly, New Jersey Thence he returned to New York, yet soon afterward, on account of failing health, visited England, having been commissioned by American friends to execute for them portraits of Macaulay, Wordsworth, Chalmers, and Lord Cottenham. He remained a year in that country, where his artistic ability, combined with wit, conversational powers, taste, and learning, found many admirers. Notwithstanding many inducements to remain there, he returned to the United States in 1845, but his sickness returned, and he died soon afterward. He had received the commission to paint one of the panels of the rotunda of the capitol at Washington, and had already outlined his subject on the canvas, representing Daniel Boone in the wilds of Kentucky. His reputation mainly rests on his portraits, which are characteristic, vigorously painted, and rich in color. Among the many persons who sat to him were William Wirt, Nicholas Biddle, De Witt Clinton, Horace Binney, Fitz-Greene Halleck, John James Audubon, Martin Van Buren, and William H. Seward. A full-length portrait of William Penn by him hangs in Independence hall, Philadelphia, and other works in the Boston athenaeum and the New York city hall, but his best portraits are in private houses. He was an exceedingly versatile artist, and executed numerous genre paintings and landscapes. Among the genre and historical subjects that were treated by him were "The Boyhood of Washington," "Ruins of Brambletye" House," "Trout-Fishing," "Waking of Rip Van Winkle," "Newsboy," "Scene from the' Bride of Lammermoor, '" " Sterne's Maria," and "Mumble-the-Peg." Some of his landscapes are "Dismal Swami)," " Birnam Wood," "Rydal Falls, England," and "An October Afternoon," which was one of his last works. He produced many portraits in crayon, and was one of the first to learn the art of lithography and introduce that process into the United States about 1828. He was also an elegant and entertaining writer, and contributed articles to the "Knickerbocker Magazine."--Another brother, John, journalist, born in Utica, New York, in 1805; died in New York, 30 March, 1850, taught in North Carolina in 1823-'5, then spent a year in Europe, and after his return studied law, but did not practise, becoming editor of the New York "Standard," afterward of the "Mirror," and then of the "Spirit of the Times." In 1834 he became assistant editor of the "Commercial Advertiser," and, after the death of William L. Stone in 1844, was chief editor of that journal. He was also for some years the editor of the "Columbian Magazine," and a frequent contributor to other periodicals.--Henry's son, John O'Brien, artist, born in New York city, 10 June, 1828, studied art under his father, and painted portraits in the western states. Subsequently he settled in New York city, and devoted himself to genre pictures. He also produced graceful flower pieces. He went to Europe in 1866, and spent twelve years in Paris and Rome, where his talents found recognition, and then returned to New York. Some of his best works represent Roman peasants. Among his paintings are "Sunny Thoughts," "View of Assisi," and "Ecoute," exhibited at the Academy, New York, in 1886.
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