Oliver Tarbell Eddy was born in Greenbush, Vermont (1799). Oliver was the oldest son of Isaac Eddy. Eddy like many early Americans was involved in a range of activities, including printung, engraving as well as inventing. Oliver at age 15 years apprenticed under his fathers tutalage, engraving on copper. At the time to print an image, an engraving had to be made. Engraving was an asrt formin itself. And a number of 19th century engravers also painted. Oliver was also interested in painting. And as an early American portratist, he is today best known. Like his father he had many interests and also dabbeled in inventions, including as kind of precursor to the typewritwer. He pattented this and other inventions. He has left us several wonderful individual and family portraits from the era just before and immeduatly after the invention of photography. His style has been likened to that of Rembrandt Peale, a son of Charles Wilson Peale. Eddy married Jane Maria Burger in Newburgh, New York (1822). They moved to New York City (1826). The growing city of New York meant that he had a substantial and increasingly affluent clientele. Eddy painted portraits including minatures which before the invention of photography (1839) were still very popular. The family moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey (early-1830s) and then to Newark (1835). Eddy is especially known for the 13 (perhaps more) portraits that he painted of the prosperous William Rankin family. Rankin was a successful hat manufacturer. A good example of these portraits is one done of the younger Rankin children about 1838.
We note another family portrait the following year. This one is the older Alling children. Their dather was Stephen Ball Alling (1808–61). He was a partner in the prosperous New Jersey jewelry firm of Alling, Hall,
and Dodd, and Jane H. Weir (1811–1889). Given the age of the children, the portraot was painted about 1839.
Eddy work in New Jersey at a time before the invention of photography. Eddy left New Jersey and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, at the time one of America's principal ports (1841). Like other portratists, Edyy by the 1840s had to contend with Daguerreotype studios which began opening throughout the country. It was in Baltimore while still painting poftraits that he worked on an early version of the typewritter. Finally he moved again, this time to Philadelphia (1850). He remained their until his death (1868). Many of Eddy'?s portraits are held by the Newark Museum and the Maryland Historical Society.
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