S. J. Ferris Self-portrait

S. J. Ferris Self-portrait

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Stephen James Ferris etched this self-portrait in October of 1880, probably as one of the prints exchanged by members of the Philadelphia Society of Etchers. Ferris was a founding member of the society, which formed earlier that year, three years after the establishment of the New York Etching Club, the first in the United States. Ferris had seen the etching process demonstrated in 1860 by John Sartain, an engraver. In 1875 Ferris produced one of his earliest etchings to be commercially published in the United States, a portrait of Mariano Fortuny (1838–1874).
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
graphic artist
Ferris, Stephen James
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
image: 12.5 cm x 9.5 cm; 4 15/16 in x 3 3/4 in
plate: 13.5 cm x 10 cm; 5 5/16 in x 3 15/16 in
sheet: 29 cm x 20.5 cm; 11 7/16 in x 8 1/16 in
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Ferris Collection
See more items in
Work and Industry: Graphic Arts
Ferris Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I doubt if the PSE actually "commissioned" this etching. To my knowledge they did not commission any of their members to make etchings. Much more likely, Ferris completed this as one of the "exchange etchings" at one of the early meetings that the club held. If true, he probably printed and signed about 10 copies of the print and gave one to each of the members in attendance at that particular exchange meeting, and one to their library collection. Exchanges happened at their third and fifth meetings, held on 7 October and 5 December, 1880. Refer to my book on Peter Moran, Domestic and Wild, The Art and Life of Peter Moran, vol 1, pp. 55-57; p. 186.

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