When the 1847 painting appeared on PBS’ Antiques Roadshow in January, appraiser Alan Fausel exclaimed it could hang in a museum. (The Dallas owner — who remains anonymous — responded with “Oh my gosh!” when Fausel appraised the painting’s value at between $300,000 and $500,000.)
And now it is in a museum — on a long-term loan to the Amon Carter in Fort Worth. The Illustrious Guest was painted by James Henry Beard, a well-known portrait painter in New York in the first half of the 19th century. His subjects included John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay, the Kentucky senator who is depicted in The Illustrious Guest visiting a country tavern while campaigning.
Beard, by the way, was better known for painting lightly satiric portaits of dogs and pets — much like his brother and fellow painter, William Holbrook Beard.