Portrait of Henry Cordis Brown
A large oil portrait of Henry Cordes Brown. Brown is standing in this full length portrait, facing forward with his left hand at his side and right hand on a map which is on a table. He is wearing a dark suit and white shirt with bowtie. His grey hair is short; he has a mustache and appears to be wearing glasses. He is in a carpeted room with a chair behind and off to one side of him.
Portrait of Henry C. Brown was presented to the state capitol in July 1910 by his son James H. Brown. Donor card shows donor as "Colorado: State of Board of Capitol Managers" April 21, 1931. Mrs. James Williams, vice president of the state board of charities and corrections, encouraged James H. Brown to make the bequest. Quoting his letter to Mrs. Williams, "I hereby acknowledge receipt of your courteous request advising me that it is the wish of the many friends and pioneer acquaintances of my father, Henry C. Brown, deceased, that his full length portrait which has always hung in the rotunda of the H. C. Brown Palace hotel of the city, should for all time be preserved by being given a prominent and permanent place in the state house, the site of which he gave to the state....In the sale of the H. C. Brown Palace hotel, I received this portrait of my father as my individual property. I am therefore able and willing to donate his portrait to the state of Colorado..." A plate attached to the frame reads as follows: "Henry Cordes Brown, son of a revolutionary patriot, a builder of this commonwealth, donor of the site on which the state capitol is erected and builder of the H. C. Brown Palace hotel, born near St. Clairsville, Ohio Nov. 12, 1820...died at San Diego, Cal. March 1906."
See The Denver Republican, July 2, 1910, p. 5., Henry C. Brown was born in St. Clairesville, Ohio, on November 12, 1820. Orphaned at the age of seven, he was "bound out" to a farmer for whom he worked until sometime in the early 1840s, at which time he moved to Wheeling, West Virginia and learned the carpenter's trade. Between 1844 and 1852 he lived in St. Louis, Missouri. In the spring of 1852, he drove a team of oxen for a party going to San Francisco. Brown moved on to Portland, Oregon, then north to Olympia in Washington State. He and two other pioneers built a sawmill along the Whatcom River. His part in the venture was short-lived, and he traded his interest in the sawmill for a ranch in California. He soon left ranching behind and returned to San Francisco where he worked at contracting and building. In 1856 he moved inland and in 1857 he sailed for Peru. After a few months in Callao, Peru, the sailed for Virginia, arriving in 1858. He immediately returned to St. Louis, worked as a carpenter, then moved to Sioux City, Iowa, and on to Decatur, Nebraska, where he was associated with the Decatur Town Company, which failed. Returning to St. Joseph, Missouri, he once again worked as a contracting carpenter. In the spring of 1860 he left St. Joseph, and once again driving an oxen team, set out across the plains for Denver City. His trip of forty-five days brought him into Denver on June 9. His carpenter shop on Larimer Street in Auraria became the pioneer Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, which was flooded in the spring of 1864. Brown had relocated to "Brown's Bluff," his homestead of one hundred and sixty acres that later became the site of Denver's state capitol building and the Capitol Hill section of Denver. He built a small home at the site of what is now Twelfth and Sherman St. Brown donated three city blocks to the state for the capitol building to the state. He built the Brown Palace Hotel at one end of his quarter section, and sold other portions as home sites. His original homestead claim was far outside the early Denver/Auraria/Highlands settlements although the original Denver City plat map included the area and a representative of the Denver City Town Company challenged Brown's claim. The challenge was verbal in nature and no one from the Town Company followed through. "Possession being nine-tenths of the law," Brown retained the claim.
See Jerome C. Smiley's History of Denver, pages 372 - 374; 430; 433; 443-444; 465; 478;504; 506 - 509; 512; 574; 660; 664; 708; 722; 766; 816; 819; 856; 889; 955; 956.
, Artist George W. Platt was born in Rochester, NY in 1839. He graduated from University of Rochester about 1860. He served as draftsman on John Wesley Powell's geological surveys. In the late 1870s Platt spent five years studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and later studied in Italy and Munich. He returned to the States making his studio in Chicago during the 1880s and in Denver in the 1890s where he taught art at the University of Denver. He died in Denver in 1899. He is best known for his still life, landscape, and portraits.
Painting is signed "G. W. PLATT 1893" in pink/ochre paint at lower left.