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  • Provenance

    Swann Galleries, New York, 1998, lot 65

  • Catalogue Essay

    Francis E. Brownell was a volunteer in the 11th New York Infantry, a regiment that saw early and decisive action in the Civil War. In May of 1861, the infantry entered a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, and took down from its roof the Confederate flag that flew within sight of the White House across the Potomac. Enraged, the hotel’s owner then shot and killed Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, the 11th’s commanding officer. In the ensuing melee, the hotel owner was fatally stabbed by Francis E. Brownell, pictured here.

    Ellsworth was the first Union officer to be killed in the Civil War. He had been a friend of President Lincoln, and his body laid in state at the White House. “Remember Ellsworth” was a rallying cry for Union troops. Brownell was dubbed "Ellsworth’s Avenger," and was granted the Medal of Honor for his service.


Portrait of Francis E. Brownell, “Ellsworth’s Avenger,” and Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Salt print with ink highlights, flush-mounted to board, with a hand-painted salt print portrait of a woman on the reverse of the flush-mount.
12 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (31.8 x 24.1 cm)

$7,000 - 9,000 

Contact Specialist
Caroline Deck
Senior Specialist, Head of Sale

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245

The Odyssey of Collecting: Photographs from Joy of Giving Something Foundation, Part 2

New York 4 April 2017