William Seward

The Seward House Museum in Auburn has acquired an 1856 portrait of former Secretary of State William Seward. It's located in the museum's library.

A newly acquired piece of artwork is now at the Seward House Museum in Auburn.

An oil painting of William H. Seward, a former U.S. secretary of state, was given to the museum by an unnamed donor, the great-great-great-grandson of George Washington Patterson. The painting arrived at the museum in May. 

According to a news release, the painting was commissioned by a good friend of Seward's, Patterson, who would become lieutenant governor of New York and a U.S. congressman. A lifetime friend and like-minded political ally, Patterson commissioned the painting by John Phillips, a Scottish painter. 

Phillips' work is believed to have been completed in his New York City studios in 1856. Seward would have been about 55 years old and a U.S. senator at the time.

The oval-shaped painting depicts a mature Seward wearing a black coat, white shirt and his signature black cravat. His hand is held to his face, and his hair has a slight red tinge remaining as the grey takes over. The painting's frame is made of carved gold gilt wood, made exclusively for the piece.   

The museum said the painting will be displayed with "great pleasure" in the museum's library. 

For more information, call (315) 252-1283 or visit sewardhouse.org

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Staff writer Dan Orzechowski can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or dan.orzechowski@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @OrzechowskiDan.