Joseph Smith and Leaders, ca.1845


Painted by William Warner Major

Hyrum Smith

Hyrum Smith (1800-1844)

Willard Richards (1804-1854)

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 Joseph Smith (1805-1844)

Orson Pratt (1811-1881)

 

 

 

 

Parley P. Pratt (1807-1857)

Orson Hyde

Orson Hyde (1805-1878)

Heber C. Kimball (1802-1868)

Brigham Young (1801-1877)

Owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Left to right:  Hyrum Smith, Willard Richards, Joseph Smith,  Orson Pratt,  Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, Heber C. Kimball, Brigham Young

 

       Sometime during the summer or fall of 1845 Major was commissioned by the Church leadership to paint a portrait of Joseph Smith and other prominent leaders. It now hangs in the Museum of Church History and Art. From left to right is Hyrum Smith, Dr. Willard Richards,1 Orson Pratt, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Hyde, Heber C. Kimball, and Brigham Young. The reason I date this picture during this time period is because as early as April 30, 1845 The Nauvoo Neighbor, announced that there were no worthy paintings available of the "twelve and other distinguished persons in Nauvoo" and they advised "our brethren in New York and elsewhere, to hold on...we have the best artists in the world in Nauvoo; and noble heads, and in time, we can give fac similes, to the life, worthy of men of God."2 Also, it wasn't until the summer and fall months of 1845 that Major painted portraits of Richards, Young, and Kimball. The picture of Joseph Smith (standing) is evidently influenced by Maudsley's earlier profiles of the Prophet. Major also copied a portrait of Hyrum Smith (that was painted before 1837 and later hung in the Nauvoo Temple) which accounts for Hyrum's distracted gaze away from the direction of the lecturing Prophet. Why were these particular men chosen, when others who were equally important leaders (such as George A. Smith, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff), not included in the portrait? Because the men in the painting either had portraits which were accessible for Major to copy or were personally available to pose for Major.