John Greenleaf

John Singleton Copley American

Not on view

While there has never been any doubt of Copley’s innate talent, these portraits give new meaning to the word “precocious.” At about the age of fifteen, with no formal training and very little opportunity to have studied acclaimed works of art, Copley not only could paint competently but also knew how to serve his patrons best: with accurate but richly embellished likenesses. These handsome siblings (see also 2002.612), offspring of John and Priscilla Brown Greenleaf of Boston, wear just the sort of elaborate, inventive costumes that became the artist’s forte. Copley’s source for John’s exotic cap and pose was a print after Sir Godfrey Kneller’s portrait of Lord Bury as a child.

John Greenleaf, John Singleton Copley (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1738–1815 London), Oil on canvas, American

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