RARE ANTEBELLUM OIL OF 2ND LT. N. H. MCLEAN
RARE ANTEBELLUM OIL PAINTING OF 2ND LIEUTENANT NATHANIEL H. MCLEAN. American School, oil on board, ca. late 1840's or early 1850's, artist unidentified. Contained under glass in a period gilt wooden frame with decorative gilt-metal inner matte stamped "Webster" [the artist?]. 9.75" x 11.75" framed. A magnificent, almost photographic depiction of the bushy redheaded, blue-eyed young man posed in his deep navy military uniform, crisp white shirt with golden accents to his buttons and shoulder bars. He is placed against a warm autumnal background and is leaning on a table covered with a cranberry cloth. A superb example of antebellum military portraiture. In very good condition.
McLean graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in July 1848. In May, 1861, he was brevetted Captain Assistant Adjutant General, then full Captain. In 1862 he was promoted to Major Assistant Adjutant General. In 1863 her was commanded by Ambrose E. Burnside to investigate irregulartites in the returns of the purchasing and disbursing office headed by Captain F. W. Hunt. McLean found evidence of a scheme to defraud the government of over one million dollars, but the whole affair was swept under the rug by Secretary of War Stanton. McLean resigned. In 1874, the House Committee on Military Affairs reviewed the evidence and vindicated McLean.
This fine painting with an engaging military history should be displayed and enjoyed.