Solomon Nunes Carvalho was born in 1815 in Charleston, South Carolina, into a Jewish family of Spanish-Portuguese descent. Carvalho worked as both a portrait and landscape painter and a photographer. During the winter of 1853-1854, Carvalho was a member of John C. Frémont’s arduous expedition through the territories of Kansas, Colorado, and Utah in search of a direct route to the Pacific Ocean. The daguerreotypes that Carvalho took on this expedition no longer exist.
Sarah Solis Carvalho (Painting)
Description: Sarah Solis Carvalho (Painting).
Solomon Nunes Carvalho, artist, daguerreotypist and portrait painter, was a native of Charleston, South Carolina. He later resided variously in Barbados, Philadelphia, Baltimore and finally New York. Carvalho helped establish a Sephardic congregation, Beit Israel, in Baltimore.
This is a portrait of his wife Sarah Miriam Solis (1824-1894). The pair were married in 1845 by the groom’s friend, Reverend Isaac Leeser (1806-1868), hazzan of Congregation K.K. Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia. Sarah Carvalho was founder and President of the Baltimore Hebrew Sunday School Association.
Carvalho’s sources for the composition (the rich drapery swag to the sitter’s left, and the non-specific view through the window to her right) and tonality of this portrait lie ultimately in eighteenth century European painting, filtered through such American painters as Gilbert Stuart and Thomas Sully, with a touch of Victorian sentimentality. It is interesting to note that Carvalho’s experience with photographic portraits did not influence this portrait of his wife.
In 1853 explorer Colonel John Charles Frémont invited photographer and fine artist Solomon Nunes Carvalho to accompany his fifth, and final, western expedition. As the official photographer, Carvalho documented the trip from the Mississippi River to Utah with daguerreotypes–a unique and often unwieldy form of photography that produces images on large silver plates. Carvalho was a skilled photographer, but he was a novice on the trail and he battled with the hardships of the journey. He not only was challenged by the physical strain but, as an observant Jew, struggled to maintain his commitment to Judaism, even when observing strict dietary laws meant that he did not eat. Carvalho’s own words, from the journal he kept and from letters he wrote home to his wife, provide a vivid firsthand view of his remarkable adventure. With many apt excerpts from his descriptions, author Arlene Hirschfelder has written a detailed account of the life of this little-known, yet widely accomplished, man.
Isaac de Solomon Nunes Carvalho, bd: 10Aug 1781, London, m: Aug 1803, London dd: pre-1811.
Children: (my 3rd generation children;) Solomon de David Numes Carvalho, Emanuel de David Nunes Carvalho, Julia de David Nunes Carvalho, Sarah de David Nunes Carvalho, Benjamin de David Nunes Carvalho, Isaac de David Nunes Carvalho, Miriam de David Nunes CArvalho, Clara de Emanuel Nunes Carvalho.