The Williamson Family

Artist: John Mix Stanley (American, Canandaigua, New York 1814–1872 Detroit, Michigan)

Date: ca. 1841–42

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 27 x 22 in. (68.6 x 55.9 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of George H. Danforth, III, 1976

Accession Number: 1976.338


Stanley is perhaps best known for his depictions of Native Americans whom he painted while travelling out west during the 1840s and 50s. Yet throughout his career he relied on portraiture as his mainstay. Here Stanley depicts the Williamsons, a New York merchant, his wife, and their eldest son, in the comfort of their parlor. While the composition relies on conventional schemes, Stanley has taken care to depict the family’s actual surroundings and possessions that suggest their status. This attention to interior detail as well as the meticulous delineation of figures are characteristic of Stanley’s painting style.