Conservation provided by the Medical Society of South Carolina.

Isaac Chanler (1750-1820)

By Artist unknown, date unknown, | Oil on canvas, 7 ¾ x 8 ½

Isaac Chanler was the son of a Baptist minister living along the Ashley River. In 1768 he graduated from the medical college at Edinburgh, where he was befriended by Dr. Benjamin Rush, the preeminent physician in late 18-century America. Dr. Chanler was a surgeon in the Continental Army and was a founding member of the Medical Society of South Carolina to which he was elected president in 1799. He died in Charleston in April 1802 and is buried in St. Phillips Churchyard.

Purchase by the Waring Historical Library.

Conservation Needs:

Proposed treatment includes removing grime and discolored varnish, consolidating areas of lifting or fragile paint, filling losses (as needed), reducing canvas distortion, revarnishing surface, and proper reframing.


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.