The Hartford Courant (1887 – 1922)

Washington Will Remain in Town

May 24, 1906

ProQuest Historical Newspapers Hartford Courant (1764 – 1922) pg. 11


Washington Will Remain in Town.

Gilbert Stuart’s Painting Will Not Leave the Capitol.

Its Restoration Will Be Done In Hartford.

Boston Firm Consents To Break Rule of Requiring Paintings To Be Sent To Them.


The benign influence of the Father of His Country is not to be withdrawn from the Capitol, as Comptroller A. W. Mitchell has arranged to have the work upon the Stuart portrait of Washington in the Senate chamber done in the building, and it is nominated in the bond that it is to be completed by January 1, 1907, so that the senators of the incoming General Assembly will have no day when they cannot see the man who never told a lie, even after he got into politics.


Mention of the flaking process which has been going on has already been made in “The Courant,” and this will be arrested by the transfer of the portrait to another canvas. The work will be done by James Oliver’s Sons of Boston, who are experts in restoring and preserving oil paintings.  The house has been doing business for more than half a century, since 1850.  James Oliver, who was the first man in America o perform this transfer operation successfully, is dead, but his sons, who now conduct the business, use the same process, which is a secret one.


The actual work will take about six weeks, but not six weeks continuously, as the restorers will work two weeks at a time.  The work will begin this morning, not in the Senate chamber, but in another room in the building, and George Oliver, one of the present firm, and another member of the family, will be the transfer process.


The Oliver house was originally located in New York, but Boston proved a fertile field for its work, and its headquarters are now at the Hub, although for a time the firm has places in both New York and Boston.  It is the rule of the Olivers not to go away from Boston to do work upon paintings, and where the mountain will not go to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain, and the paintings be taken to Boston, but Connecticut’s comptroller was able in this case to persuade the mountain to come to Mahomet and the Olivers will do their work here.  The comptroller was unwilling to allow the picture to leave the building, especially after he found difficulties in the way of getting insurance upon it, while it was in transit.  The state paid less than $800 for the portrait in 1800, but it is priceless now and even the ice trust could not attain unto the figures which would buy it.  The Olivers made a concession in this case on account of the great worth of the painting.  It being one of the famous Stuarts, although they much prefer to do their work in Boston.

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