Monday, November 18, 2013

John Singleton Copley 1738-1815 paints American Women in Blue


1763 John Singleton Copley (1738-1815).  Alice Hooper


John Singleton Copley is recognized as one of the first native-born painters to achieve success both at home and abroad. Alice Hooper, painted by Copley around 1763, depicts the seventeen-year-old daughter of the wealthiest man in Marblehead, Massachusetts, Robert “King” Hooper. Alice’s father commissioned this portrait to mark his daughter’s engagement to Jacob Fowle, Jr.


Copley knew from prints that women portrayed outdoors in gardens had become popular in 18th-century England. Isabella Fitzroy (née Bennet), Duchess of Grafton (1667-1723), Daughter of Earl of Arlington; Wife of Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton.by John Faber Jr, after Sir Godfrey Kneller, mezzotint, mid 18th century


Alice Hooper’s composition is one of a series of women depicted in fantasy garden settings, which are reportedly descended from John Faber’s 1691 engraving after Sir Godfrey Kneller’s Duchess of Grafton (ca. 1680).


1763 John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). Mary Turner (Mrs. Daniel Sargent).


The painting also provides vivid additional evidence of Copley’s working methods. Like many of his colonial American colleagues, the artist borrowed costumes & compositions from imported engravings of high-style British portraits. These appropriations were done with the full cooperation of his clients, who wanted to emulate the aristocrats of the mother country.


1763 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Mercy Otis (Mrs James Warren).


Although he painted most of his gentlewomen in blue gowns in outdoor gardens in 1763-64, he had begun as early as 1758 to portray these images.


1758 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Anne Fairchild Mrs Metcal Bowler Colby


1763 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Hannah Loring.


1763 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Anne Fairchild (Mrs Metcalf Bowler)


1763 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Sarah Sargent (Mrs. Nathaniel Allen)



1763 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Mary Tappan (Mrs Benjamin Pickman)


1763 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) ) Mercy Scollay, Lady in Blue


Although portrayed in a more conservative riding outfit, the following portrait might also be considered as part of this series.


c 1764 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Mrs Epes Sargent Catherine Osborne

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