Portrait of a Boy, Probably of the Crossfield Family
William Williams (1727–1791)
Oil on canvas
52 1/4 x 35 3/4 in. (134.7 x 91 cm)
Victor Wilbour Memorial Fund, 1965
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.
descendants of the Crossfield family, until 1965; with Nathan Liverant and Sons, Colchester, Connecticut, 1965