John Adams Elder, Fredericksburg Artist

John Adams Elder, Fredericksburg Artist

J. A. Elder, certainly the most significant artist of 19th century Fredericksburg, was born and died at 1111 Caroline Street. He showed considerable artistic talent at a young age and was encouraged by John Minor, a wealthy Fredericksburg lawyer. Elder studied under Daniel Huntington in New York and with Emanuel Leutze in Dusseldorf, Germany. He is best known for his paintings of Confederate subjects. The Virginia Historical Society owns a number of his portraits.

Signed at lower left “J. A. Elder, 1858.” [I have included a photo of the signature that I enhanced with the iPhone photo app] The sitter in this portrait is unknown, but bears a striking resemblance to Mary Minor Blackford.

It is in untouched condition, appearing to have never been removed from the original frame. The canvas is stamped by George Rowney and Co. of London.

An excellent article on Elder is available on our local library website [1].


The canvas measures 24 x 20.

Virginia, 1858 c.H: 30"W: 26"Reference number: 29143