Thomas Grimball Prioleau (1786-1876)

By Artist unknown, 1860 | Oil on canvas, 16 x 14

Thomas Grimball Prioleau was born, raised and died in Charleston. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1808 he returned to the Lowcountry to establish his practice.

After a brief stint in the War of 1812 and a temporary residence in the countryside of the upper Cooper River, Prioleau returned to Charleston proper where he lived and worked until his death in 1876. An early advocate for establishing the Medical College of South Carolina, Dr. Prioleau served as professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the school for 43 years.

Gift of the Estate of Mrs. Sidney Prioleau Dent, 1975.

Conservation Needs:

Proposed treatment includes filling any paint losses or abrasions, removing grime and discolored varnish layers, reducing canvas distortion, revarnishing the portrait with synthetic coating, and proper reframing.

Frame requires minor cleaning.

Donate to preserve the Thomas Grimball Prioleau portrait »


The goal for the project is $150,000 which will pay for all the work to conserve these visual treasures. The cost for each portrait’s conservation ranges from $1,200 to $15,000.

This cost includes the conservation/ treatment report, conservation of the canvas and frame, and any costs associated with the treatment such as curatorial research and documentation, photography, transportation, and insurance.

Donor Recognition

Donors who adopt a portrait will receive named recognition during the portraits absence in the form of a sign reading, “Portrait being conserved through the generous support of [your name].”

When the portrait is returned a celebratory reception will be held at which the donor will be honored for his or her support of the project. Finally, the finished portrait will be reinstalled in the Waring with a permanent sign reading, “This portrait was conserved in [year] by the generous support of [your name].”

As a thank you gift, donors will be offered a reproduction of their “adopted” portrait, printed on canvas and suitable for framing.

Project Kick-Off

In order to kick-start the project, the WLS sent the portrait of Alexander Baron off for conservation.

Dr. Baron was selected for two reasons: first, the sitter, Dr. Baron, was a founding member of the Medical Society of South Carolina, whose generous support of the Waring has enabled us to conserve and digitize numerous items from the collection.

Second, the artist of the portrait was Samuel B. Morse, whose portraiture career in Charleston included painting the city’s leaders.