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The Talented Messrs. Peticolas – richmondmagazine.com



The Peticolas brothers of early Nineteenth-century Richmond exhibited presents for drawing, portray, music, instructing and small enterprise. Augustus (born 1790), Edward F. (born 1793), Julius Adolphus (born 1795) and Theodore (born 1800) constituted Richmond’s first household of creatives, but little stays that’s attributable to them. This features a “castle.”

Their French dad and mom, Phillippe Abraham, from Meziers, and Amelie Jute Moncé of Cambrai, got here to the United States by way of Santo Domingo (Haiti). Phillippe got here from a army background, however he’d additionally developed a expertise for the troublesome artwork of portray in miniature. These tiny items, in lockets or on different equipment, require acute precision.

He inherited his brother’s Haitian property amid the upheaval of the antislavery independence motion led by Toussaint Louverture. After some skirmishes, Phillippe, Amelie and the toddler Augustus boarded a U.S.-bound vessel.

Moving first to Philadelphia after which to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Phillippe billed himself as a “drawing-master from Paris” whose clientele prolonged to New York and Baltimore, as described by historian L. Moody Simms Jr. in his 1977 article “Talented Virginians: The Peticolas Family,” written for the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.

By 1802, Phillippe expanded his inventive repertoire to classes on the harpsichord and pianoforte alongside younger Augustus.

The Peticolases caught the eye of Joseph Gallego, one other enterprising immigrant. Gallego, from Malaga, Spain, had settled in Richmond together with his spouse, Mary Magee of Philadelphia. His burgeoning Gallego Flour Mills in the end grew to become one of many world’s largest makers and exporters of flour.

Gallego, maybe recognizing similarities between his experiences and people of the Peticolases, and in addition searching for to boost his adopted metropolis’s cultural life, invited Phillippe and household right here.

In 1804, Phillippe marketed his providers for portray miniatures and music instructing. The subsequent 12 months, he introduced his household to Richmond. They took up residence in a nook home at Eighth and Clay streets.

The Jan. 17, 1807, situation of the Richmond Enquirer carried an commercial for P.A. Peticolas, “Professor of Music and Miniature Painting,” and it detailed how “Master Edward Peticolas” additionally rendered “likenesses in Miniature on moderate terms.”

Amelie died at age 66 in December 1825 and obtained internment at Shockoe Hill Cemetery. Not a lot is understood about Phillippe’s later life; he died in August 1841 on the Petersburg dwelling of his son Julius Adolphus.

The brothers Peticolas all engaged in variations of artwork and commerce. Augustus taught drawing at Anna Maria Byrd’s college for younger girls. He appears to have died younger, round 1810.

Julius Adolphus, after some lacking years in Europe, proved prolific within the household method; he and his spouse, Mildred Warner Brown of Amherst, produced seven kids. His livelihood blended music instructing and merchanting in Richmond and Petersburg, the place he died in 1862.

Theodore dabbled in miniature portray and in addition took up shopkeeping. Moving west, he continued his pursuits in arts and commerce, finally settling in Clermont, Ohio. There, at varied instances, he labored as a surgeon, horticulturist and musician, creating a aspect curiosity in fireworks. He died in 1865.

Edward studied artwork in Richmond underneath the soon-renowned Thomas Sully (that’s his Andrew Jackson on the $20 invoice), whereas Phillippe gave music classes to Sully’s spouse, Sarah (widow of Sully’s older brother and artwork colleague, Lawrence).

Edward went to England in 1815. He studied and traveled in Europe for about 5 years, returning to Eighth and Clay by 1820, the place he promoted his personal “exhibition room.”

Writer William Dunlap included Edward’s work in a survey of the younger republic’s inventive growth. Dunlap expressed Edward’s fashion as “chaste, his coloring clear” and famous that “he deserved all the employment of that city.”

On Oct. 17, 1822, Edward married painter and copyist Jane Pitfield Braddick. Their son, Arthur Edward Peticolas, additionally exhibited artwork however went into medication.

Edward’s best-known work is a full-length portrait of America’s Revolutionary War ally the Marquis de Lafayette, which was first displayed within the domed Robert Mills-designed City Hall throughout Lafayette’s 1824 go to. This portray and one other of George Washington by artist and would-be museum creator James Warrell went above both aspect of the bench the place sat Lafayette and mayor/doctor John Adams (for whom the downtown avenue is called). Edward’s Lafayette survives on the Valentine.

Edward lived for some time in London however by 1833 returned to Richmond. After 1840, Edward started struggling, writes Simms, from “attacks of acute rheumatism.” He ceased portray round 1845; his spouse died at age 61 on Nov. 10, 1852, and she or he was buried at Shockoe Hill Cemetery.

Edward turned recluse and wearing fits of colourful patches. He moved into the largely uninhabited western finish of Richmond known as Sydney, the place, like his little brother Theodore, Edward’s inventive ardour grew towards horticulture. He cultivated roses, fruits and grapes on a plot close to in the present day’s Grove Avenue and Harvie Street. His peace, nonetheless, was interrupted from time to time by the taunts of kids.

One teen who witnessed these “deprecating urchins,” Robert Alonzo Brock, grew as much as be secretary of the Southern Historical Society and recalled Edward’s “rage at some of the spoilations, as he pursued the freebooters in their hasty flight.”

Despite these depredations, overlooking his gardens Edward created one in every of Richmond’s first idiosyncratic homes, although it was mocked by some residents as “Peticolas’ Castle.”

Brock remembered the place as a “heterogenous mass in form and material defying literal description.” Many additions clustered round in varied phases of completion, with “turrets varied in dimensions and attitude” and a few components deteriorating whereas others have been present process restore.

In July 1853, Arthur, the physician son, bought off his father’s remaining artwork and property, which led to the dismantling of “Peticolas’ Castle.” Edward obtained formal adjudgment as a lunatic and apparently died not lengthy after.

Arthur, too, suffered from afflictions of physique and thoughts.

While superintendent of the Eastern Lunatic Asylum in Williamsburg, on the morning of Nov. 28, 1868, he jumped from a window to his dying.





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