Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portrait of a Boy, Probably of the Crossfield Family

Artist:
William Williams (1727–1791)
Date:
ca. 1770–75
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
52 1/4 x 35 3/4 in. (134.7 x 91 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Victor Wilbour Memorial Fund, 1965
Accession Number:
65.34
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 721
William Williams was born in England, the son of a mariner. He lived through shipwreck and adventure in the Caribbean before arriving in Philadelphia at the age of twenty, by which time he was already earning a livelihood as a painter. He returned to England in 1776, and died there fifteen years later in an almshouse. Tradition holds that the solemn young man represented in this portrait is a member of the Crossfield family. He holds the equipment for the game of battledore and shuttlecock, a decorous eighteenth-century version of badminton. In this picture, one of Williams's best, the rendering of the rocks, the verdure, and the distant view reminds us that the artist was also a painter of theatrical scenery.
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