Text: Michael J. Deas, “William Huddy,” The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe (1989), pp. 106-107 (This material is protected by copyright)


­[page 106:]

Alleged Portrait Attributed to William Huddy

In their 1894-95 edition of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, George E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman published a statement concerning the possible existence of a lost portrait of Poe:

Spurious portrait of Edgar Allan Poe [thumbnail]

(fig. 49)
Alleged portrait attributed to William Huddy
[Illustration on page 107]

A letter written in 1884, by Mr. [Peter S.] Duval, renders it not unlikely that an artist's portrait of Poe at a younger age was made, and at present may be counted among the “lost portraits” of famous authors. Mr. Duval had for years in Philadelphia a lithographic establishment, — unfortunately destroyed by fire, with all its contents, in 1856. He states that in 1839 or 1840, when Poe was contributing to the “U.S. Military Magazine” and other local periodicals, a lithographic likeness of the poet was copied “from a miniature painting furnished by Mr. Poe, or the editor of the magazine, Mr. Wm. Huddy.” The letter adds that “it was done by Newsom,” and was to be inserted in some publication. No trace of either the miniature or the lithograph has thus far been found.(87)

It is highly doubtful that this “lost portrait” ever existed — at least in the form described by Duval's 1884 letter.(88) The “Newsom” mentioned in Duval's letter was probably Albert Newsam, a deaf-mute lithographer active in Philadelphia during the 1840s, while “Huddy” was no doubt William H. Huddy, the co-proprietor of Duval's Philadelphia atelier. But no lithographic portrait of Poe by either Newsam or Huddy ever appeared in the U.S. Military Magazine or any other Philadelphia journal of the period specified by Duval. Indeed, the only portrait of Poe published about this time was a woodcut (fig. 5) printed on the front page of the Philadelphia Saturday Museum of March 4, 1843. The creator of the woodcut was E. J. Pinkerton, an engraver and lithographer who, not surprisingly, had been well acquainted with Peter Duval.(89) Pinkerton's woodcut of Poe was not based on a painted miniature but a daguerreotype — probably the “McKee” daguerreotype (fig. 3). These circumstances combined suggest that Duval, writing forty years after the fact, was making a confused reference to the Saturday Museum woodcut, and that “the miniature painting furnished by Mr. Poe” was actually the “McKee” daguerreotype or a close variant thereof.

These facts notwithstanding, Duval's published recollections seem to have inspired the appearance of at least one alleged Poe portrait attributed to William Huddy. The likeness (fig. 49), a cracked miniature on ivory, is preserved with a slip of paper inscribed in brown ink: “E. A. Poe / My generous neighbor / Huddy.” The portrait was formerly owned by the noted Poe collector William H. Koester, and is now preserved in the Koester Collection at the University of Texas at Austin.






[S:1 - PDEAP, 1989] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Portraits and Daguerreotypes of Edgar Allan Poe (M. J. Deas) (William Huddy)