Hugh Ely, III (1760-1822)
I wanted to share this photo of an oil-on canvas portrait of my great great great great grandfather Hugh Ely, III, with the community. The story goes that the repaired bullet hole in the lower right has nothing to do with the Revolutionary (or any other) War - although that would have made its own great narrative! My great grandfather had just given the portrait of Hugh Ely, III, to my grandparents, and was coming for a visit and to see where in their house they had hung it. Unfortunately, the week before his visit, my father - a teenager at the time - was out and about on their property and discharged his rifle, sending a bullet through the dining room window and into the just-hung portrait of his patriot ancestor. The story doesn’t specify what befell my father for this misdeed, but my grandparents somehow managed to have Philadelphia Museum of Art conservators repair the damage within a few days and barely in time for the impending visit. Evidently their family time together was happy, although my grandmother recounted that her father-in law, a retired bank president, was elderly, but definitely not blind! Evidently, he examined the portrait in some detail, but apparently didn’t utter a word about any repairs (a bank president as well as a diplomat). Once is definitely enough! The portrait hangs today in our dining room and our own formerly teenaged son - who thankfully caused no further damage to the portrait - is now a thirty-year-old lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina.
Date: c. 1795
Click here for the image details page or here for the full-sized version (2448 x 3264).