William T. Trego: Catalogue Raisonne

The Three Princes, 1882

Courtesy of the Mercer Museum/Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Vital Statistics

Alternate title: Sons of the Royal House
Oil on canvas, 28� x 21�
Signed and dated lr: “Wm. T. Trego, 1882”
The labels and inscriptions on the reverse provide a remarkably confusing and contradictory account of the painting’s adventures over the years. In addition to a typed mini-biography of Trego, containing several factual errors, there are the following:
•On a white sticker: “The Three Princes/By William Trego/Walter E. Baum Collection.”
•In white chalk: “canvas/mounted on/studio board/inherited from Trego/By W. E. Baum/19210.”
• In blue magic marker: “To David E. Baum, Sellersville, Pa/18960 from Walter E. Baum Estate” (the word “estate” in white chalk).
• In white chalk: “Purchased from the artist 1925/ by Harry O. Eichleay Pittsburgh, PA
• In script in black crayon, upper right: “Sons of the Royal/House [signed] W. T. Trego.”
In black crayon: “$600.”
• On a mailing sticker, in script: “Sons of the [Ro]yal/ /Wm. E. Trego net $600.”
• In blue magic marker: “ ‘The Three Princes’/by William Thomas Trego/North Wales, PA.”
(Mercer Museum Cataloging Worksheet, acc. #80.08.01, Mercer Museum Files)
Mercer Museum/Bucks County Historical Society, Doylestown, Pennsylvania


Though the typed biography of Trego on the back identifies the three young men as “the sons of Hohenzollern Kaiser Wilhelm,” this is not the case. Kaiser Wilhelm I had only one son, and Kaiser Wilhelm II, still a prince, had only one son when the painting was done. The princes shown are likely the sons of Kaiser Frederick, who reigned briefly in the year 1888—Crown Prince Wilhelm, the future kaiser, Prince Henry, and Prince Waldemar—as they looked in 1879, the year of Waldemar’s death. The faces of the three princes strongly resemble photographs of the three sons of Kaiser Frederick. The faces of Henry and Waldemar were repeated in Trego’s 1889 painting, The End of the Charge. The source of the artist’s information about the German royals is not known.


The provenance is impossible to trace as can be seen by the information provided on the back on the painting.


Doylestown, Pennsylvania, James A. Michener Art Museum, June 3-Oct 2, 2011: "So Bravely and So Well: The Life and Art of William T. Trego."


As The Three Princes in Helen Hartman Gemmill, “William B. T. Trego, the Artist with the Paralyzed Hands,” Antiques [November 1983], p. 996.


The painting is in very good condition.

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James A. Michener Art Museum William T. Trego Catalogue Raisonne