Interior of the Library of Henry C. Carey
George Bacon Wood
The well-worn rocking chair in the center of this painting suggests the missing presence of the library’s owner, Henry C. Carey, who died the year this picture was painted. Carey was an influential political economist, and the books on which he would have built his career are here depicted scattered throughout a well-adorned interior. These books, standing in for Carey himself, function as a memorial to the man and his work. Likewise, the paintings on the walls also act as a memorial to Carey. Though the extensive painting collection was actually formed by Carey’s brother, a notable Philadelphia publisher, the paintings were bequeathed to the Academy by Carey himself. Many of these paintings are now at the Academy, including Mercy’s Dream, which is depicted on the left wall of the library and is currently hanging on the opposite wall of this gallery. A native of Philadelphia, painter and successful photographer, the artist has signed the painting in a clever manner, on a manuscript in the lower left corner of the painting, inscribed G.B. WOOD 1879.