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Identification and Creation

Object Number
John Singleton Copley, American (Boston, MA 1738 - 1815 London, England)
Thomas Hancock (1703 - 1764)
Frame by Unidentified American Framemaker
Thomas Hancock (1703-1764)
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States, Massachusetts, Boston
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
242.7 x 150.9 cm (95 9/16 x 59 7/16 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Commissioned by the sitter's nephew, John Hancock, at the request of the College, 1764-1766.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard University Portrait Collection, Gift of John Hancock, nephew of Thomas Hancock, to Harvard College, 1766
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Benjamin Peirce, A History of Harvard University, From its Foundation, in the Year 1636 to the Period of the American Revolution, Brown, Shattuck and Company (Cambridge, MA, 1833), p. 231
  • 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), p. 69
  • William Garrott Brown, A List of Portraits in the Various Buildings of Harvard University, Harvard University Library (Cambridge, MA, 1898), p. 21
  • 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. 53
  • 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), p. 138
  • Cuthbert Lee, Early American Portrait Painters: The Fourteen Principal Earliest Native-born Painters, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT, 1929), p. 74
  • Frank William Bayley, Five Colonial Artists of New England: Joseph Badger, Joseph Blackburn, John Singleton Copley, Robert Feke, John Smibert, Southworth Press (Boston, 1929), p. 221, ill.
  • Theodore Bolton and Henry Lorin Binsse, "John Singleton Copley", The Antiquarian (New York, NY, December 1930), pp. 116-118., p. 116
  • Louise Burroughs, "John Singleton Copley", The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1936), vol. 31, no. 12, pp. 251-258, p. 254
  • Royal Cortissoz, "The Art of Copley at the Metropolitan", New York Herald Tribune (New York, NY, December 27, 1936), sec. 7, p. 8, p. 8
  • Laura M. Huntsinger, Harvard Portraits: A Catalogue of Portrait Paintings at Harvard University, ed. Alan Burroughs, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1936), pp. 67-68
  • Alan Burroughs, Limners and Likenesses: Three Centuries of American Painting, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1936), pp. 67-68, fig. 55
  • Paintings of John Singleton Copley, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1936), p. 7, cat. 6
  • Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum Annual Report, 1936-1937 (Cambridge, MA, 1938), p. 17
  • 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. 99-100, pl. 45
  • 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. 188, cat. 964
  • Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum Annual Report, 1939-1940 (Cambridge, MA, 1941), p. 23
  • James Thomas Flexner, John Singleton Copley, Houghton Mifflin Company (Boston, 1948), pp. 28, 54, pl. 19
  • John Chamberlain, The Enterprising Americans: A Business History of the United States, Harper & Row (New York, 1962), ill. p. 8
  • Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1966), vol. 1, pp. 30, 43-44, 108, 217, pl. 154
  • Louise Todd Ambler, Early Science at Harvard: Innovators and Their Instruments, 1765 - 1865, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, December 1969-January 1970), pp. 2, 74, cat. 2
  • Alison Shepherd Lewis, "John Singleton Copley and American Full-Length Portraits: The Project of Harvard Hall" (1969), Unpublished, pp. 9-13, 17
  • Robert Plate, John Singleton Copley: America's First Great Artist, David McKay (New York, NY, 1969), p. 43
  • Fogg Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum Annual Report, 1969-1970 (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 10, ill. p. 11
  • Nina Fletcher Little, "Floor Coverings", American Art Journal (May 1975), vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 107-117, p. 112
  • Wendy Ann Cooper, "Paul Revere's Boston, 1735-1818", The Magazine Antiques (July 1975), vol. 108, pp. 80-93, cat. 41, ill.
  • Esther Forbes, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In, Book of the Month Club, Inc. (New York, NY, 1980), p. 113
  • Melvin Maddocks, The Seafarers: Atlantic Crossing, Time-Life Books, Inc. (Alexandria, VA, 1980), ill. p. 58
  • Trevor J. Fairbrother, "John Singleton Copley's Use of British Mezzotints for his American Portraits", Arts Magazine (March 1981), pp. 122-30, pp. 125-126, 128-129, fig. 12
  • Leo van Witsen, Costuming for Opera, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN, 1981), p. 55, ill.
  • Wayne Craven, Colonial American Portraiture, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England, 1986), pp. 339-341, fig. 160
  • Sandra Grindlay, "Harvard's Portraits: An American Treasure", Harvard University Art Museums Review (Fall 1992), vol. II, no. 1, pp. 6-7, p. 6
  • Morrison Heckscher and Leslie Greene Bowman, American Rococo, 1750-1775: Elegance in Ornament, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1992), p. 138
  • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, "Furniture as Social History: Gender, Property and Memory in the Decorative Arts", American Furniture, Chipstone Foundation (Milwaukee, WI, 1995), pp. 39-68, pp. 48, 52, fig. 14
  • Carrie Rebora and Paul J. Staiti, John Singleton Copley in America, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1995), pp. 93, 156, 211, 221, 259, ill. p. 4
  • Elizabeth M. Kornhauser, American Paintings before 1945 in the Wadsworth Atheneum, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT, 1996), pp. 261-263, ill.
  • Susan Rather, "Carpenter, Tailor, Shoemaker, Artist: Copley and Portrait Painting around 1770", The Art Bulletin, College Art Association of America (New York, NY, June 1997), v. 79, pp. 269-90, p. 279
  • Harlow Giles Unger and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. (USA), John Hancock: Merchant King and American Patriot (New York, 2000), ill p. 18
  • John T. Bethell, Richard M. Hunt, and Robert Shenton, Harvard A to Z, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2004), p. 276
  • Kimberly Orcutt, Process and Paradox: The Historical Pictures of John Singleton Copley, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2004), pp. 2-3, ill., 12
  • Beth Carver Wees and Medill Higgins Harvey, Early American Silver in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New Haven, 2013), ill. p. 269
  • 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. 22, 24,132-134, 426, cat. 83, ill.
  • Stephen J. Hornsby and Richard W. Judd, ed., Historical Atlas of Maine (Orono, Maine, 2015), part 1, plate 13 verso [unpaginated], repr.
  • Colleen Walsh, "Reviving the Philosophy Chamber", Harvard Gazette (May 25, 2017), Vol. CXII, pp. 24-25, p. 25, repr.
  • Jonathan Shaw and Jennifer Carling, "The Lost Museum: Teachings of the Philosophy Chamber, Recreated", Harvard Magazine (Cambridge, MA, 2017), pp. 42-49, p. 42
  • Ethan Lasser, ed., The Philosophy Chamber: Art and Science in Harvard’s Teaching Cabinet, 1766–1820, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017), p. 71, Plate 7; pp. 17-19, p. 23 Fig. 14, p. 35 Fig. 25 in Ethan W. Lasser's "Harvard's Teaching Cabinet"; p. 57 in María Dolores Sánchez-Jáuregui's "A Repository of Gifts"; p. 172 (detail), pp. 181-189, p. 184 Fig. 13 (x-radiograph), p. 186 Fig 16 (detail), in Aleksandr Bierig's "Transposition"; pp. 224-235, Figs. 1-4, 6-9, and 13 in Teri Hensick and Kate Smith's "Copley's Working Practice"; p. 259 in Andrew Gelfand's "Chronology"

Exhibition History

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Verification Level

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