Ingham, Charles Cromwell (1796/7–1863), painter, was born in Dublin. Nothing is known of his family or early education. Having attended drawing classes at the Dublin Society schools since 1809, he became in 1812 a pupil of William Cuming (qv), a painter best known for his female portraits, and remained with Cumming for four years. It may have been this experience that led him later to specialise in female portraiture. A further formative influence was the work of Martin Archer Shee (qv). He was awarded prizes (1810, 1811) by the Dublin Society, and in 1815 he was awarded a premium by the Irish Institution for his painting ‘The death of Cleopatra’ (present whereabouts unknown).
In 1816 he emigrated to America and settled in New York, where he exhibited his ‘Death of Cleopatra’ at the opening of the American Academy of Fine Arts that year. He soon established himself as a successful painter of portraits and as a leading figure in the artistic world of New York, but maintained some links with Ireland, exhibiting at the RHA in 1829 and 1842. In 1825 he was a founder member of the National Academy of Design in New York and went on to serve on its council of directors and as its vice-president. In 1848, when the National Academy acquired the Browere stables on Broadway, Ingham was the chairman of the building committee and designed the grand staircase which became known as ‘Ingham's stairs’.
His mature style is characterised by meticulous draughtsmanship and highly polished surfaces, showing the influence of French neoclassical artists such as Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (1780–1867). His female sitters, who included many of the society beauties of New York, gave him ample opportunity to exploit his virtuosity in the rendering of the rich details and textures of contemporary fashion. His portrait of Amelia Palmer (1830; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) is a good example of his sophisticated technique. A number of prominent public figures also sat for him; his portrait of the marquis de Lafayette is in the state capitol, Albany, New York. He is also known to have painted landscape. ‘The Adirondack pass, painted on the spot, 1837’ (Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, New York) is a rare example. He died unmarried in New York on 10 December 1863.