Girl of the Bangs-Phelps Family

Artist: Erastus Salisbury Field (1805–1900)

Date: ca. 1848

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 58 3/4 x 30 1/4 in. (149.2 x 76.8 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1963

Accession Number: 63.201.4


Over a fifty-year career that included early training with Samuel F. B. Morse, Field became one of the most successful itinerant painters in antebellum New England and New York State. He developed a repertoire of compositional formulas to depict the features and surroundings of his sitters, who belonged to the emerging rural middle class. Field’s portrait of a female member of the Bangs-Phelps family of Springfield, Massachusetts, presents her wearing an oversized, nicely detailed costume and holding a book in her right hand. The background is a soft gray color, with Field’s distinctive shaded halo of space encircling the skillfully modeled face and sharply parted hair.