John Singleton Copley Portrait of Mrs Gill c.1770–1

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
Portrait of Mrs Gill
Date c.1770–1
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 1280 x 1022 mm
frame: 1595 x 1290 x 120 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Mr and Mrs H.J. Heinz II 1979
Reference
T02386
Not on display

Display caption

Copley painted several portraits of wealthy Bostonians such as Mrs Michael Gill. Their plain directness allies them to Scottish ‘common sense’ portraits by Allan Ramsay, rather than the aristocratic London portraits of Gainsborough and Reynolds. This may reflect the dominance of the merchant class in Boston, whose wealth was in trade rather than land and who prized material goods rather than emblems of rank. Such paintings would have looked provincial to a London audience.

Copley decided to settle in England at the time of the American Revolution. His later portraits show his assimilation of a freer and lighter English style.

September 2004

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