Mrs. Noah Smith and Her Children

Ralph Earl American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 755

In 1798, Ralph Earl left his home in Connecticut, traveling throughout New England in search of portrait commissions. While in Vermont, he painted the most ambitious work of his career, a large group portrait of Chloe Burrall Smith (1757–1810) with her five children. Earl, who had trained in England, adopted a simplified style to suit the tastes of his rural patrons. Wearing a fashionable, yet modest silk gown, Mrs. Smith embraces her youngest daughter in a maternal gesture. The four older children are posed before a landscape, each holding an attribute. Of particular note is son Daniel (second to the left), who holds a "Map of the World"—an emblem of the family’s education and global ambitions.

Mrs. Noah Smith and Her Children, Ralph Earl (American, Worcester County, Massachusetts 1751–1801 Bolton, Connecticut), Oil on canvas, American

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