Blackburn, a British immigrant, worked in the Boston area for only nine years before returning to England. The companion portraits of Samuel Cutts (1726–1801), a prosperous merchant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Anna Holyoke (1735–1812; 1979.196.2) of Boston, executed around the time of their marriage, seem to have been among the last works he painted in this country. Cutts, his proudly substantial figure dominating the picture, turns to face the spectator. The harbor view through the window refers to his shipping business.
the sitter, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, died 1801; his son, Edward Cutts, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, died 1824; his son, Hampden Cutts, Brattleboro, Vermont, died 1885; his son, Edward Holyoke Cutts, Faribault, Minnesota, died 1887; his wife, Hannah (Annie) Sherwood Cutts, Omaha, Nebraska, until 1919; her granddaughter, Louise Cutts Powell, Boston, 1919; with Vose Galleries, Boston, 1919–1926; Clarence Dillon, Far Hills, New Jersey, 1926–died 1979