Samuel Mifflin (1724–1781), an affluent Philadelphia businessman, commissioned this portrait and its pendant (22.153.2) in 1777. An ardent patriot, he commanded three artillery battalions and served on Pennsylvania’s Council of Safety during the Revolutionary War. He also contributed a large sum to the fund established to equip George Washington’s army. This work shows the strong influence of John Singleton Copley. Like Copley, Peale conveyed an impression of importance by means of a sumptuous setting and a firm and frank presentation of the sitter’s portly person. The glimpse of sea and ship through the window alludes to Mifflin’s mercantile success.
Signature: [at right center]: CW Peale pinxit 1777
the sitter's daughter, Sarah (Mrs. Turbutt Francis); her daughter, Rebecca (Mrs. Mathias) Harrison, Philadelphia; her daughter, Rebecca McMurtrie, Philadelphia; possibly her cousin, Dr. Charles Mifflin, Boston, 1873; Mrs. McMurtrie's son, James McMurtrie, Philadelphia, by 1876; his daughter, Sarah Josephine Wistar McMurtrie (Mrs. N. Dubois Miller), until 1922; with Andre E. Rueff, Brooklyn, as agent, 1922