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Home | Articles | John Singleton Copley, attributed

Portrait of a Naval Officer. Probably Boston, Mass., ca. 1780. Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 1/2 in. Illustrated in Jules Prown, John Singleton Copley in America, 1738–1774. Courtesy of Black Pearl Antiques & Fine Art.
This portrait recently resurfaced on the marketplace after 53 years in a private collection. The sitter is believed to be Joshua Loring of Massachusetts, son of Joshua Loring, the elder. Both men were naval officers; the sitter was a Lieutenant in the American Navy at the time of the Revolutionary War.

This painting appears in Jules Prown’s catalogue raisonné, John Singleton Copley in America, 1738–1774 (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1966), page 425. Prown notes that in 1780 Copley exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy in London.

Acquired by Wall Street mogul Hetty Green (1834–1916) (known in her time as “the world’s richest woman”) of Bellows Falls, Vt., the painting passed down through her children, E.H.R. Green (1868–1936) and Mrs. Matthew Aster Wilks (1871–1951), to the last owner, Reverend Currier of Bellows Falls, Vt.

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