Zophar Mills (1809-1887)
Oil on canvas
Overall: 42 1/4 x 36 in. ( 107.3 x 91.4 cm ) Frame: 50 1/4 x 44 x 1 1/2 in. (127.6 x 111.8 x 3.8 cm)
inscriptions: back stencil: William Schallss. 3031 Broadway/ New York. Prints seller/& Artists colourman
Mills became associated with Engine Company No. 13 of the New York Volunteer Fire Department at the age of thirteen. In 1835 he became foreman of the company and in 1838 assistant engineer. His company was responsible for halting the great fire of 1835 at Wall Street, thus preventing destruction of the northern part of the city. He was president of the Exempt Firemen's Association, a company of veterans reserved for emergencies, which he helped organize in 1854. This portrait belongs to the early career of Francis Bicknell Carpenter, who had come to New York in 1852 from his native Homer, New York. He remained in the city for several years, painting portraits and genre pieces, before moving in 1860 to Washington, DC., where he spend six months in the White House while painting his portrait of Lincoln. The portrait of Mills ranks among the artist's finest; the head, especially, possesses a fine feeling for form, animation, and character. Mills holds a copy of the constitution of the Fire Department of the City of New York. On the table beside him are writing instruments, account books, and a replica of the bust of Washington by Houdon.
Gift of Adelaide Mills
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.