Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827)
Reproduction of Explanation [& Illustration] of J.I. Hawkins' Physiognotrace, 1803, watercolor on paper, 8 x 10 inches
Courtesy of Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress
DescriptionCharles Willson Peale introduced Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) to the operation of Hawkins’ Physiognotrace with a watercolor sketch and labeled instructions. Jefferson, Peale, and Hawkins (1772-1855) were engaged in the development and refinement of multiple instruments that could duplicate text and images during the early nineteenth century, including the polygraph, the pantograph, and the physiognotrace. Charles Willson Peale used Jefferson’s celebrity to promote the physiognotrace by reproducing and distributing Jefferson’s silhouette to visitors at his museum.
Researcher: Jennifer Donnelly