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Published: 10 November 2016

A Philadelphia Power Couple | Thomas Sully's Kane Portraits

Capturing the likeness of Jane Duval Leiper Kane and John Kintzing Kane, Thomas Sully (1783-1872) masterfully preserves this Philadelphia power couple’s beauty and intellect through the skillful deployment of the paintbrush. Freeman's is proud to offer these portraits as part of The Lemon Hill Collection in our upcoming auction of American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872)  Pair of portraits: Jane Duval Leiper (1796-1866) and John Kintzing  Kane (1795-1858), Philadelphia, PA, 1832 and 1836  Oil on canvas, framed. Jane Duval Leiper Kane, daughter of Thomas Leiper and Elizabeth Coultas Gray Leiper, married Philadelphia lawyer John Kintzing Kane in 1819. Reputed to be the most beautiful woman of her time, she opened the grand costume ball honoring the visiting Marquis de Lafayette in 1824, dressed as Mary Queen of Scots. According to sources, Thomas Sully, who was in attendance that night, never forgot Kane's beauty and requested that she wear the costume for her portrait taken eight years later.  John Kintzing Kane was active in Philadelphia's civic, political and cultural affairs. A Democrat and supporter of Andrew Jackson, Kane served in the Pennsylvania legislature, as City Solicitor for Philadelphia, and as Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Under President James Polk, Kane was appointed United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He served as President of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, President of the American Philosophical Society, and one of the Founders of Girard College. 

Some of Kane’s court decisions were extremely controversial, especially those upholding the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.  It is interesting to note that two of Kane’s seven children were Abolitionists and purportedly used the parent’s country house, Fern Rock, as a station on the Underground Railroad.

Thomas Sully (1783-1872)  Pair of portraits: Jane Duval Leiper (1796-1866) and John Kintzing  Kane (1795-1858), Philadelphia, PA, 1832 and 1836  Oil on canvas, framed. As part of the Lemon Hill collection, these portraits are strongly connected with the estate’s former proprietor, Henry Pratt. Abraham Kintzing, the father of Elizabeth Kintzing Kane, beloved step-mother of John Kintzing Kane (from whom he took his middle name), was the business partner of Henry Pratt from about 1797 to 1812. Henry Pratt and Abraham Kintzing were active in the American Land Company. The papers of Pratt & Kintzing are found in the collection of the William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan.   

View the Auction Catalogue

To be offered 11/16/16: Lot 25, Thomas Sully (1783-1872) Pair of portraits: Jane Duval Leiper (1796-1866) and John Kintzing Kane (1795-1858), Philadelphia, PA, 1832 and 1836. Oil on canvas, framed. Estimate $20,000-30,000.

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