|Paul Revere, 1770, |
John Singleton Copley
This was the plight of John Singleton Copley. Born in 1738, he'd learned his craft from his stepfather who was an engraver. He'd paid his dues as a portrait painter, and a very good one at that. His portrait of Paul Revere, for instance, and several group portraits of his own and other colonial families before the war raised him to perhaps the preeminent portrait artist in the colonies. And, residing in Boston, he probably could have lived out his years quite comfortably as the New England equivalent of Philadelphia's Gilbert Stuart, or Charles Wilson Peale. Many would argue, in fact, that he was a better painter than either of these countrymen. Instead, he chose England, and later, at the behest of Benjamin West, studied in Italy. He arrived in London in 1774. Later, seeing war on the horizon, his family joined him there.
|Watson and the Shark, 1778, John Singleton Copley|