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John Singleton Copley, R.A. (? Boston 1738-1815 London)
John Singleton Copley, R.A. (? Boston 1738-1815 London)

Portrait of Mary Clarke, Mrs. Samuel Barrett, small-bust-length

Details
John Singleton Copley, R.A. (? Boston 1738-1815 London)
Portrait of Mary Clarke, Mrs. Samuel Barrett, small-bust-length
oil on copper, oval
5¾ x 4¾ in. (14.7 x 12 cm.)
Provenance
By descent to the sitter's grand daughter, Mrs. Mary E. Cabot.
Mrs. James Putnam, Boston, by whom given to her daughter,
Dr. Marian C. Putnam, New Haven.
Dr. and & Mrs. Monroe A. McIver, Cooperstown, New York.
with Spink-Leger, London.
Literature
A.T. Perkins, A Sketch of the Life and a list of some of the Works of John Singleton Copley, 1873, p. 36.
F.W. Bayley, The Life and Works of John Singleton Copley, 1915, p. 56.
T. Bolton and H.L. Binsee, 'John Singleton Copley', in The Antiquarian, XV, December 1930, no. 2.
B.N. Parker and A.B. Wheeler, John Singleton Copley: American Portraits in Oil, Pastel and Miniature, with Biographical Sketches, Boston, 1938, p.243.
J.D. Prown, John Singleton Copley: In America 1738-1774, I, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1966, p. 208, illus. 247.
Exhibited
London, Spink-Leger, Head and Shoulders, 16 November-17 December 1999, no. 7.

Lot Essay

Dated to circa 1765-70, the present work is a rare and intimate example of Copley's portraiture in miniature. Painted in oil on copper, during the period of the artist's engagement to the sitter's sister, it is one of only a small number of portraits in this medium that he executed at Boston, before moving to England.

The sitter was the eldest of the six children of Richard Clarke, a prosperous Boston merchant and his wife, Elizabeth. She married Samuel Barrett in 1761. In 1769, Copley married her sister, Susanna. As a merchant and consignee for the East India Company, Richard Clarke was closely involved up in events leading up to the Boston Tea Party.

A pendant portrait of her husband is listed by Prown (op. cit., p. 208) in the collection of George B. Foster, Montreal.
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