Stephen Hooper

Artist: Henry Pelham (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1749–1806 Dublin)

Date: 1773

Medium: Watercolor on ivory

Dimensions: 1 7/8 x 1 1/2 in. (4.6 x 3.7 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1925

Accession Number: 25.98


The stepbrother of John Singleton Copley, Pelham was born in Boston and assisted Copley in his work. He learned from him the art of making miniatures, in both oil on copper and watercolor on ivory, during the late 1760s. He seems to have taken up the craft in earnest during the 1770s, by which time Copley's work in small format had fallen off in favor of larger commissions. Pelham later moved to London and continued to paint miniatures. His American works are extremely rare—fewer than a dozen are known. He painted Stephen Hooper, a merchant from Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1773 and wrote the following note to accompany the jewel: “Agreeable to your directions, I have done your portrait in Miniature and have had it sett in Gold.”