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.188.8.131.52 (gift of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon)).