Henry Arthur McArdle

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Henry Arthur McArdle
Sam Houston at San Jacinto.jpg
Sam Houston detail of The Battle of San Jacinto
Born(1836-06-09)June 9, 1836
DiedFebruary 16, 1908(1908-02-16) (aged 71)
EducationMaryland Institute College of Art
Known forPainting
Spouse(s)Jennie Smith
Isophene Lacy Dunnington

Henry Arthur McArdle (June 9, 1836 – February 16, 1908) was an American painter of French and Irish ancestry. He was born in Belfast, Ireland[1] on June 9, 1836, and immigrated as a teenager to the U.S. state of Maryland, where he studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art. During the American Civil War he was a cartographer in the service of Robert E. Lee. After the war he took a job at Baylor University and Baylor Female College and moved to Independence, Texas, where he was also known as Harry McArdle,[1] with his new wife Jennie Smith.

After moving to Texas he interviewed members of Hood's Texas Brigade who fought with Robert E. Lee at the Battle of the Wilderness, as research for his painting titled Lee at the Wilderness.[2] In 1890, Texas governor Lawrence Sullivan Ross commissioned him for a painting of Jefferson Davis to hang in the capitol building. McArdle moved to San Antonio and continued to paint many scenes of Texas history.[1]

He is best known for his 1895 painting The Battle of San Jacinto, which depicts Sam Houston,[3][4] and Dawn at the Alamo, depicting the final battle and first completed in 1875. The original painting hung in the Texas State Capitol building but was lost when a fire destroyed the building in 1881.[5] He completed another version of the painting in 1905, which features Davy Crockett, James Bowie and William B. Travis.[6] Both of the paintings were purchased from the family by the State of Texas after his death, and now hang in the Senate chamber of the Texas State Capitol.[7]

Widowed in 1871, he married Isophene Lacy Dunnington. They had five children together. She died on June 18, 1907 and he died on February 16, 1908. They are buried together in City Cemetery #6 in San Antonio.

In January 2015,[8] a collection of McArdle's journals, correspondence, painting aids and other materials was placed online by Baylor University's Digital Projects Group and The Texas Collection. The materials, which were drawn from Baylor University's holdings and McArdle's descendants, are available for research via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

Notable works[edit]

Partial listing:[4][9]

  • 1872 Lee at the Wilderness
  • 1875 Dawn at the Alamo
  • 1905 Dawn at the Alamo
  • 1875 The Settlement of Austin's Colony or The Log Cabin
  • 1890 Jefferson Davis
  • 1895 The Battle of San Jacinto


  1. ^ a b c Hazelwood, Claudia. "Henry Arthur McArdle". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  2. ^ "The McArdle Notebooks: Introduction". Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Battle of San Jacinto". State of Texas Preservation Board. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b "The McArdle Notebooks: The Paintings". Texas State Archives and Library Commission. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Texas Transmits Herself to Posterity". State of Texas Preservation Board. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Dawn at the Alamo". State of Texas Preservation Board. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  7. ^ Fowler, Gene. "Monument to Texas The History and Civics of a Texas Capitol Tour". Texas Highways. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Texas Collection – Henry McArdle Collection". Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  9. ^ Ratcliffe, Sam DeShong (1992). Painting Texas History to 1900. University of Texas Press. pp. vi, xxviii. ISBN 978-0292781139.

External links[edit]