As a member of America’s first artistic dynasty, Anna Claypoole Peale played a critical role in the burgeoning cultural life of early-nineteenth century Philadelphia. Her uncle, Charles Willson Peale, was a noted painter and scientist; her father, James Peale, was a successful painter; many of her siblings and cousins—both female and male—were also professional artists.
Peale was born in Philadelphia, where she spent most of her adult life, although she also lived and worked in Washington, DC, Baltimore, Boston, and New York. Trained by her father, Peale sold her first two paintings when she was only fourteen. While she also produced still lifes, landscapes and full-size oil portraits, from the age of twenty-three, Peale specialized in portrait miniatures, for which there was a lucrative market. She quickly became popular with a succession of prominent sitters, including two American presidents, an ambassador, and several US senators, plus major writers and scientists.
Founded in Philadelphia in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts began holding its prestigious annual exhibitions five years later. Peale had a work in the 1811 exhibition and continued showing there regularly. In 1824, she and her sister Sarah Miriam became the first women to be elected members of the Pennsylvania Academy. Anna married the Reverend William Staughton in 1829; he died just three months later. In 1841, she wed General Williams Duncan; they spent nearly a quarter of a century together until his death in 1864. In addition to her own busy career, the prolific Anna Claypoole Peale also trained another miniaturist, her niece, Mary Jane Simes.
College of Physicians, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1819)
Private lessons, Philadelphia, PA, USA
granddaughter of James Claypoole
daughter and student of James Peale
daughter of Mary Claypoole Peale
niece of Charles Willson Peale
niece of James Claypoole Jr.
sister of Sarah Miriam Peale
sister of Margaretta Angelica Peale
sister of Maria Peale
cousin of Rembrandt Peale
cousin of Raphaelle Peale
cousin of Rubens Peale
cousin of Titian Ramsey Peale II
cousin of Sofonisba Anguissola Peale
cousin of Angelica Kauffmann Peale
cousin of Rosalba Carriera Peale
cousin of Mary Jane Peale
cousin of Anna Peale Sellers
aunt and teacher of Mary Jane Simes
Academician, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1824)
Annual Exhibition, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1811)