Henry Inman died of asthma and its complications at the age of 45. He was at the height of his career as a New York portrait artist and as the recent recipient of one of four coveted commissions to adorn the Capitol Rotunda with an historic painting. He did not live long enough to create the masterpiece he planned, but in his portraits, he left an undeniably fine legacy. One of the earliest artworks attributed to him is from 1822 – a delectable watercolor and pencil miniature of his mentor and later partner, John Wesley Jarvis (1780-1840). Inman’s apprentice, Thomas Seir Cummings (1804-1894), became his partner as well. They attracted clients with a portrait package: Inman painted a full-size likeness; Cummings, a miniature. In between these New York ventures, Inman lived in Philadelphia where he copied Charles Bird King’s paintings of Native Americans, which Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall printed as lithographs to illustrate History of the Indian Tribes of North America. Inman visited England in the 1840s in hopes of regaining his health. He died in New York City on January 17, 1846. He left a widow and four children, one of whom was artist John O’Brien Inman (1828-1896). Some examples of Inman’s legacy follow.
Biography at National Academy Museum.