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William Hill Wells



Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin was a productive and successful portrait artist.  This engraving is a portrait of William Hill Wells (1769-1829).  Wells was a Delaware lawyer, politician, and businessman.  He was the son of a successful merchant and he married Elizabeth Dagworthy Aydelott, the ward of Revolutionary War General John Dagworthy, who brought substantial wealth to the marriage.  He served in the Delaware General Assembly and then in the U.S. Senate, after which he left politics to invest in the Pennsylvania oil business before again serving in the Delaware General Assembly followed again by the U.S. Senate and finally then returning to the General Assembly.  He practiced law throughout.  Orson Welles was Wells’ great-great-grandson.

Examples of this print are held by the National Gallery of Art (Acc. No. 2015-19-1584-11-3) and the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution (Obj. No. S/NPG. (gift of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon)).

Additional information


Engraving, Etching, Mezzotint


Signing, Dating, and Titling



Very Good Condition


Old Etchings

Product Details

Mezzotint and engraving in black ink on wove paper
Artist’s name etched in the plate.
Framed in a 19th century wood frame behind black-painted glass with gold embellishment. Reframed to add space between the etching and the glass and to add ph-neutral backing board.  Not conservation glass.
Very good condition. Substantial toning reflecting the pattern painted on the glass.  The black paint from the glass adhered to the sheet (not visible as framed) but not permanently affixed.  Relatively large margins.  The etching is richly shaded with clear detail.
Framed Size:
7 in. (h) x 6 in. (w) x 0.5 in.
Sheet Size:
Approx. 5 in. (h) x 4 in. (w)
Image Size:
2.1875 in. (h) x 2.1875 in. (w)

Price & Purchase