Skip to main content
Samuel Finley Breeze Morse
Samuel Palmer
c. 1832 - 1837
oil on canvas
Canvas: 30 × 58 inches (76.2 × 147.3 cm)Framed: 39 × 33 7/8 × 3 inches (99.1 × 86 × 7.6 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Armin Cay Chisholm, in memory of her aunt, Vera Caldwell Palmer.
Accession Number
Although he is most famous for inventing the telegraph, Samuel F. B. Morse avidly pursued the visual arts until he ceased painting in 1837. Morse painted commissioned portraits to support himself, but his true passion was for grand history paintings. His contributions to the field were many. Morse founded the National Academy of Design in New York and served as its president from 1826 to 1845. He also became the first professor of the literature of the arts of design at New York University in 1835.

This portrait of Samuel Palmer has the assured, fluid brush strokes and skillful use of complementary colors characteristic of Morse’s last decade of painting. Palmer was a farmer and served as mayor of Darien, Georgia before coming to Savannah in 1852 to join his eldest son in a successful hardware business.