"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Friday, April 10, 2020

Robert Hooper

This ca. 1770-1772 portrait of Robert Hooper by John Singleton Copley hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
Mr. Hooper was the son of Robert King Hooper, who owned a fishing fleet that worked out of Marblehead, Massachusetts. The younger man already sports the rotund physique that Copley had captured in a portrait of Hooper's father years earlier. Behind him, the sea, visible through an open window, recalls the source of his family’s riches. Robert had graduated from Harvard in 1763, and Copley's painting shows him settling into the comfortable life of a merchant prince.
Copley owed his living to this new class, whose wealth supported the artists, writers, and educators of the colonies. He had joined the elite not long before, through his marriage to Susanna Clarke, daughter of a prominent Boston merchant. The union literally moved Copley up in the world, where he and “Sukey” bought property on Beacon Hill, above downtown Boston. -- SAAM

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