Skip to main content

Resolution No. 51

On January 11, 1865, the Kentucky state legislature passed Resolution No. 51, directing a committee to “contract with some competent artist for a life-size portrait of Henry Clay to be placed in the [Kentucky] Senate Chamber.” The committee established a competition, inviting “those who desire to contend for the honor of painting Mr. Clay for Kentucky” to notify the committee by June 1, 1865.

Resolution No. 51 also gave Governor Thomas Bramlette “or such persons as he may direct” the authority to select the winning portrait. Bramlette appointed a second committee, composed of prominent Kentucky citizens, to judge the entries.

It is worth noting that one of the members of the selection committee, George Robertson, appears as a background figure in Staunton's painting. John M. Clay, son of the senator, served on the selection committee as well, and favored Staunton’s portrait.