Orlando Hand Bears (1811-1851) was a Sag Harbor, Long Island native and one of several artists who attempted to capitalize on the prosperity of eastern Long Island and coastal Connecticut in the first half of the nineteenth century, generated by the burgeoning whaling industry. Bears was possibly taught by another Sag Harbor painter and distant relative, Hubbard Fordham. Ship captains, merchants and their families were Bears' subjects. The few signed and dated Bears' portraits date from the mid to late 1830's.This double portrait of Job and Mary Ann Hall Babcock is believed to have been painted to commemorate their marriage on June 10, 1837. Bears' career as an artist was short-lived and in 1850, the year before his death at the age of 40, he was listed in the 1850 census as a tinner.died at the young age of 40 in Sag Harbor.
Job Hedges Babcock was the son of Phebe Hedges Babcock of Shelter Island. She, in turn, was the daughter of Job Hedges, a member of the extensive East Hampton family. There is no record of her husband's first name but the Babcock family were among the early settlers of the Southampton area. A pair of Chinese export school portraits of Captain and Mrs. Henry Babcock of Greenport, Long Island are in the collection of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities. Familial, social and commercial ties between eastern Long Island and eastern Connecticut existed from the seventeenth century onward, so it is not surprising that Job Babcock married Mary Ann Hall of Middletown, Connecticut. Job and Mary Babcock may have moved to Connecticut as the 1850 census for New London County, Connecticut lists a Job Babcock as sailing on the ship General Williams, bound for India and the North Pacific.