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Identification and Creation

Object Number
John Singleton Copley, American (Boston, MA 1738 - 1815 London, England)
William Brattle (1706-1776)
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
128 x 102.5 cm (50 3/8 x 40 3/8 in.)
framed: 143.5 x 118.4 x 7.3 cm (56 1/2 x 46 5/8 x 2 7/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l: John: S: Copley. Pinx /1756
  • exhibition label: verso: MFA E no. 332, Special Loan Exhibition of the Works of John Singleton Copley [then owned by Mrs. Paul M. Hamlen, 704 Brush Hill Rd, Milton MA]
  • exhibition label: verso of frame: Boston Athenaeum [then owned by Wm. Appleton, 462 Beacon Street, Value $500]
  • label: verso of frame: Exhibition label(?): MFA no. 372.07
  • exhibition label: verso of frame: TL22134.38, cat. 62, Thomas B. Gannett
  • inscription: on stretcher, in graphite: Mitton {?]


Recorded Ownership History
Probably to Katherine Brattle Wendell, sitter’s daughter; Mrs. Williams, a descendant, by 1867; purchased by grandfather of William S. Appleton from the Brattle family, by 1873; by descent to William S. Appleton; Estate of Marjorie C. Appleton, by 1915; Thomas Appleton; his sale to Thomas Brattle Gannett, 1925; Mrs. Paul M. Hamlen, his wife; to their son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Brattle Gannett, by 1955.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Partial Gift of Mrs. Thomas Brattle Gannett and Partial Purchase through the generosity of Robert T. Gannett, an Anonymous Donor and the Alpheus Hyatt Purchasing Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • E. D. Harris, An Account of Some of the Descendants of Captain Thomas Brattle (Boston, MA, 1867), p. 35
  • Henry T. Tuckerman, Book of the Artists: American Artist Life, Comprising Biographical and Critical Sketches of American Artists, Preceded by an Historical Account of the Rise and Progress of Art in America, Putnam (New York, NY, 1867), p. 72
  • Augustus Thorndyke Perkins, A Sketch of the Life and a List of Some of the Works of John Singleton Copley, J. R. Osgood & Company (Boston, MA, 1873), pp. 13-14, 39
  • Frank William Bayley, A Sketch of the Life and a List of Some of the Works of John Singleton Copley, The Garden Press, W. B. Libby (Boston, MA, 1910), p. 15
  • Frank William Bayley, The Life and Works of John Singleton Copley: Founded on the Work of Augustus Thorndike Perkins, The Taylor Press (Boston, MA, 1915), pp. 65-66
  • Loan Exhibition of One Hundred Colonial Portraits, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1930), ill. p. 15
  • Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Those Who Attended Harvard College, Vol. 7, 1722-1755, Massachusetts Historical Society (Cambridge, MA, 1933), p. 23, ill. p. 11
  • Alan Burroughs, Limners and Likenesses: Three Centuries of American Painting, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1936), p. 66, fig. 48
  • John Singleton Copley, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1938), p. 20, cat. 13
  • Barbara N. Parker and Anne Bolling Wheeler, John Singleton Copley: American Portraits in Oil, Pastel and Miniature, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1938), pp. 47-48, pl. 10
  • Historical Records Survey, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Works Progress Administration, American Portraits, 1620-1825, found in Massachusetts, Volumes 1 and 2, Historical Records Survey (Boston, MA, 1939), p. 50, cat. 263
  • Alan Burroughs, "Young Copley", Art In America (October 1943), vol. 31, p. 164
  • James Thomas Flexner, John Singleton Copley, Houghton Mifflin Company (Boston, 1948), pp. 26, 127-128, pl. 7
  • Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1966), vol. 1, pp. 21, 23, 25, 27, 104, 210, fig. 36
  • Linda Ayres, Harvard Divided, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1976), p. 115-116, cat. 62, ill.
  • Robert F. Perkins, Jr. and William J. Gavin, III, Boston Athenaeum Art Exhibition Index, 1827-1874, The Library of the Boston Athenaeum (Boston, MA, 1980), p. 41
  • Paul J. Staiti, "Character and Class", John Singleton Copley in America, ed. Carrie Rebora Barratt, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1995-1996), p. 56, fig. 41
  • Carrie Rebora and Paul J. Staiti, John Singleton Copley in America, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1995), pp. 180-181
  • Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 125-126, cat. 77, ill.
  • Harvard & The Legacy of Slavery, website, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, April 25, 2022, p. 65, 127

Exhibition History

  • Unidentified Exhibition, Boston Athenaeum, 1871, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 01/01/1871 - 12/31/1871
  • Unidentified Exhibition, Boston Athenaeum, 1871 (2), Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 01/01/1871 - 12/31/1871
  • Unidentified Exhibition, Boston Athenaeum, 1871-1872, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 01/01/1871 - 12/31/1872
  • Unidentified Exhibition, Boston Athenaeum, 1872, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 01/01/1872 - 12/31/1872
  • Loan Exhibition of One Hundred Colonial Portraits: Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 06/19/1930 - 09/21/1930
  • John Singleton Copley 1737-1815, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 02/01/1938 - 03/15/1938
  • Harvard Divided, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/03/1976 - 10/10/1976
  • American Faces: A Cultural History of Portraiture and Identity, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, 02/17/2017 - 04/30/2017

Subjects and Contexts

  • Google Art Project
  • Collection Highlights

Verification Level

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