Library Receives Historic Painting

The Meadville Public Library has received the gift of a painting representing the portrait of the world-famous author, Jonathan Swift. The painting was given to the Library by Diane Shafer Domnick. Jonathan Swift (1667 - 1745) was an English-Irish author world renowned for writing the early English novel, Gulliver Travels and the satire “A Modest Proposal”.

The painting may be one of fourteen similar paintings by Irish portrait artist Francis Binden. The portrait dates back to the early 1700s. A larger full body version of this portrait is on display at the British Museum. Ms. Domnick acquired the painting from a dealer in New York State.  It was in need of cleaning and repair when purchased.

Ms. Shafer-Domnick had the painting cleaned and expertly repaired. “The painting in its current condition looks wonderful,” said John J. Brice,  Executive Director. When asked about the significance of the painting, Mr. Brice commented that “this portrait was created before there was a Meadville. The subject, Jonathan Swift, is one of the most important authors in English literature, writing one of the first English novels, Gulliver's Travels. To have him represented here on the Fiction floor at the Meadville Public Library is very appropriate.”

The painting will be permanently displayed in the Meadville Public Library’s Conference Room and will be available for public viewing when the Conference Room is not being used.  It has been donated in memory of Ms. Shafer-Domnick's parents, Governor and Mrs. Raymond P. Shafer.