Elijah Boardman

Ralph Earl American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 755

Itinerant portrait painter Ralph Earl depicted the elegantly dressed dry-goods merchant Elijah Boardman (1760–1823) in his shop in New Milford, Connecticut. An unconventional setting for a full-length portrait, the work offered Boardman an opportunity to display his vast merchandise. An open door on the left reveals the shopkeeper’s textile inventory, including silks, wools, printed cottons, and linens—several of which he imported from India, China, and Europe through English ports. Although not pictured, Boardman also sold luxury goods from the Spanish West Indies, such as sugar, rum, molasses, and indigo, connecting the patrons of his Connecticut shop to the extensive networks of Atlantic trade.

#4330. Elijah Boardman

Elijah Boardman, Ralph Earl (American, Worcester County, Massachusetts 1751–1801 Bolton, Connecticut), Oil on canvas, American

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