John Singleton Copley (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1738–1815 London)
Watercolor on ivory
1 3/8 x 1 1/8 in. (3.3 x 2.7 cm)
Purchase, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, by exchange, Anonymous Gift, and Virginia Marvin Stoughton Bequest, 2006
Not on view
The greatest native-born portraitist in colonial America, Copley executed several fine miniatures. Painted for his wife, Suzannah Clarke, at the time of their marriage in 1769, this tiny watercolor on ivory shows a confident and affable young man (age thirty-one at the time) whose richly wrought figured-damask robe and gold-embroidered waistcoat are foiled by his crumpled linen collar. Each fabric texture in this masterful self-portrait is carefully delineated, as is the coarseness of the stylishly powdered hair and sharply focused face.
Signature: [at lower right]: I S C [monogram] 1769
John Singleton Copley; his daughter, Mrs. Gardiner Greene, Boston; her grandson, the Rev. John Singleton Copley Greene, Sr., Boston; his daughter, Mary Amory Copley Greene, Boston; her nephew, Henry Copley Greene, Cambridge; his daughter, Katrine Rosalind Copley Greene, New York; her sister, Mrs. Gordon Sweet (on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1971–72, and to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1972–78); Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1979.