A Brief Chronology

1785 Charles Bird King born in Newport, Rhode Island, on September 26, the only child of Deborah Bird and Captain Zebulon King. 
1789  On April 30, father killed by Indians at Marietta, Ohio. Probably lives at home of grandparents and undoubtedly receives lessons in art from grandfather, Nathaniel Bird. 
1796-1800  Probably lives at 32 Clarke Street, Newport, in house of stepfather, Nicholas Garrison, whom mother married by 1796. Receives informal art instruction from neighbor, Samuel King. 
1800-1805  Serves apprenticeship with Edward Savage in New York. 
1806-1812  Departs for London sometime between June and September 1806. Studies at Royal Academy. Shares rooms with Thomas Sully from July 1809 to March 1810. Sends home, probably by way of Sully, ten volumes for Redwood Library. Begins collection of prints. 
1812  Presents 27 volumes to Redwood in October. Moves to Philadelphia. 
1813  Exhibits four paintings at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. 
1814  Exhibits one painting at Pennsylvania Academy and is listed in catalog of exhibition as residing in Richmond, Virginia. Is in Washington, D.C., by December. 
1815  Leaves Washington before summer. Moves to Baltimore by December. Paints self-portrait (at left). 
1816  Visits Newport on death of grandfather Bird in November. Gives a painting to Redwood. Returns to Baltimore by December, then proceeds to Washington. 
1818  Exhibits one painting at Pennsylvania Academy. Stops in New York en route to or on his return from Newport during his annual summer visit. In Washington by December. Has studio at Twelfth and F Streets. 
1819  In February, mentions to John Quincy Adams his plans to return to Baltimore, but circumstances keep him in Washington and cause him to settle there until his death. Visits Newport on the death of his mother in October. Commenting on King in his diary, Adams noted, He is one of the best portrait painters in the country; little inferior to [Gilbert] Stewart. He is also an ingenious, thinking man, with a faculty of conversing upon almost any topic. 
1820  Visits Newport in July to settle mother's estate. Sells Clarke Street house, inherited from mother, to aunt, Susanna Vinson, for $1,000. 
1823  Exhibits five paintings at Pennsylvania Academy. Joins Washington Botanical Society. 
1827  Elected honorary member, professional, in National Academy of Design. 
1828  Exhibits four paintings at Boston Athenæum. 
1829  Gives Redwood five volumes and two portraits. 
1831  Exhibits one painting at Boston Athenæum. Exhibits portrait of John Quincy Adams at Pennsylvania Academy. 
1835  Gives Redwood nine volumes. 
1836  Gives Redwood one volume. 
1837  Gives Redwood a portrait of Columbus. 
1842  Gives Redwood two volumes. 
1843  Reinherits Clarke Street house on death of aunt. 
1843  Gives Redwood one volume, a copy of portrait of Governor William Coddington of Rhode Island, and $100, to be matched by Redwood's Board of Directors, for purchase of books. 
1844  Gives Redwood nineteen volumes and money to purchase two ladders for fire protection. 
1845  Gives Redwood one volume. 
1846  Gives Redwood eight or nine volumes and possibly some portraits.1847 Gives Redwood 39 volumes. 
1850  Establishes public gallery of art at Clarke Street home, but lack of interest causes him to discontinue it. 
1855  Paints self-portrait at age 70 (see page 9). 
1856  Joins Washington Art Association but is inactive member. 
1857  Visits Newport and Philadelphia. 
1859  Gives several volumes to Redwood and 78 paintings, to be hung in the newly added Reading Room. 
1860  Gives Redwood seven volumes. 
1861  Gives Redwood 46 volumes, many maps and pamphlets, and 42 paintings. Becomes gravely ill later in year. 
1862  Dies in Washington, D.C., March 18. Buried in Newport Island Cemetery. Bequest to Redwood includes 75 paintings, 395 volumes, about $10,000, and 14 volumes of engravings.