Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hugh Hall

Artist:
John Singleton Copley (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1738–1815 London)
Date:
1758
Medium:
Pastel on off-white laid paper, mounted on canvas
Dimensions:
15 15/16 x 13 3/16 in. (40.5 x 33.5 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Estate of George Strichman and Sandra Strichman Gifts; Bequest of Vera Ruth Miller, in memory of her father, Henry Miller, Bequest of Josephine N. Hopper, John Stewart Kennedy Fund, and Gifts of Yvonne Moën Cumerford, Berry B. Tracy, and Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Milbank, by exchange; Mr. and Mrs. Leonard L. Milberg Gift, and funds from various donors, 1996
Accession Number:
1996.279
Not on view
The subject of this powerful study is Hugh Hall, a distiller, son of the governor of Barbados, and a Boston merchant of great affluence. The portrait reveals the young Copley's earliest attempt to master the difficult medium of pastel crayons. This is not an effortless performance. The picture bears the scars of his struggle to bend an obdurate medium to his will, but what the picture lacks in elegance it more than makes up in forcefulness. This portrait of Hugh Hall is probably Copley's first pastel.
Signature: [at right]: J. S. Copley. / Pinx 1758
Descended in the family of the sitter to his great-granddaughter, Miss Baury, by 1873; to the sitter's great-great-grandson, Charles H. Hall, New York, by 1938; to Michael C. Janeway, New York, by 1965; with Kennedy Galleries, New York, 1975–87; sold to George Strichman, New York, 1987; to his estate upon his death in 1989; with Vose Galleries, Boston, 1989; with Crane Collection, 1991–96
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