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Seton Artifact Returns

Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Murillo

This painting of the Head of Christ and the Lap Trunk are the only two objects in the house that once belonged to Mrs. Seton during the time she lived here on Paca Street. The painting was believed to have been a gift to Elizabeth from her husband William upon his return from a trip to Europe.

In 1821, on her death bed, Elizabeth Seton gave the painting to Archbishop Maréchal. It is believed that it was, in turn, given to Mr. Luke Tiernan, a prominent Baltimore businessman, by Archbishop Maréchal for his help in finding employment for William and Richard Seton and as a token of friendship.

  Head of Christ
Head of Christ

This painting was a gift to the Sulpicians Fathers and the Mother Seton House from Bill and Peter Edelen, both direct descedants of Mr. Luke Tiernan. According to The Tiernan and other Families, published in 1901:

Charles Tiernan always valued very highly among his pictures, an oil painting of the “ Head of Christ” . . .

It was said to have been cut out of a larger picture which had been taken from a Church in Spain, during the French occupation of that country, in the Napoleonic wars, and it has this inscription upon the back:

“Bartolomeo Murillo, native de Seviglia
“Presented to the Archbishop, by Madame Seton in her death bed, 1821."

Bill and Peter Edelen present painting to Father Kemper
Left to right, Bill Edelen, Peter R. Edelen, and Fr. John C. Kemper, S.S., director of St. Mary's Spiritual Center and Historic Site

Click the image below to view a slide show of the Edelens' visit. (NOTE: The slide show will open in a pop-up window. Depending on your browser settings, you may need to select "allow blocked content" to open the slide viewer.)

Slide Show Link