Sunday, November 17, 2013

18C American Women by Joseph Blackburn 1700-1780


Although it is not certain, artist Joseph Blackburn was probably born, schooled, & died in England. He clearly was taught painting in the English Rocco portrait style & his particular skill was in painting elegant fabrics & fashions on gracefully portrayed sitters. We do know that before he came to the American colonies, he sailed first to Bermuda, where he spent 2 years painting portraits.

1753 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Mary Lea (Mrs. John Harvey).

He left that island for the potential of a broader client base in the growing Atlantic towns of the British American colonies.  He was painting actively in the colonies from 1754-1763. He arrived in Newport from Bermuda in 1754, and then traveled to Boston (1755-58), and on to Portsmouth (1758-62). He returned to London in 1763.

1754 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1753-1763). Mary Sylvester

He arrived in his first colonial American port town with a letter of introduction from a locally known and respected member of genteel society.

1754 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Abigail Chesebrough (Mrs. Alexander Grant).

The 1754 letter of introduction from a family member of one of Blackburn's former clients addressed to friends in the artist's next port-of-call encourages both Blackburn's social acceptance and his employment.

1754 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763) Lady.

Joseph Blackburn's letter of introduction to Newport society, "I hope youl excuse the liberty I shall now take of recommending the bearer Mr Blackburne to your favor & friendship, he is late from the Island of Bermuda a Limner by profession & is allow’d to excell in that science, has now spent some months in this place, & behav’d in all respects as becomes a Gentleman, being possess’d with the agreeable qualities of great modesty, good sence & genteel behaviour he purposes if suitable encouragements to make some stay in Boston, and will be an entire stranger there...shall therefore be obliged to you or friends for any civilities you are pleased to shew him, my best Compliments...to your good lady Miss Sucky and Miss Nancy & who’s Pictures I expect to see in Boston drawn by the above Gent[lema]n."

1754 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Elizabeth Pelham (Mrs. Peter Harrison).

Just like other colonial portraitists, Blackburn copied many of his poses and costumes from English mezzotints executed in the baroque style of Godfrey Kneller (1646–1723) & Peter Lely (1618–1680) and the updated rococo take of Thomas Hudson (1701–1779).

1754 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Mrs David Chesebrough.

Blackburn painted fanciful depictions of the pastoral shepherdess, lavish silk gowns, and extravagant formal urns & gardens that reflected the fantasy desires of his colonial gentry clients living far from London's easy access to excess.

1757 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Abigail Browne (Mrs. Joseph Blaney)


1760 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Eunice Fitch


1757 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Mrs James Pitts


1757 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Susan Apthorp (Mrs. Thomas Bulfinch)


1759 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Hannah Babcock (Mrs. John Bours)


1761 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Elizabeth Saltonstall (Mrs. Silas Deane)


1754 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Mrs John Pigott of Bermuda


1760 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Hannah Wentworth Atkinson


1761 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Elizabeth Browne Rogers


1762 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Portrait of a Woman


1762-63 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Mrs Samuel Cutts


Joseph Blackburn (American colonial era artist, 1700-1780) Mrs Thomas Jones


Joseph Blackburn (American colonial era artist, 1700-1780) Mrs. Knight of Gosfield


1755 Joseph Blackburn (American colonial era artist, 1700-1780) Abigail Russell Curwen


Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Ann Phillips


 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Mrs Gillam Phillips Marie Faneuil


1762 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Anne Saltenstall


1762 Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Anne Saltenstall


Joseph Blackburn (fl in the colonies 1754-1763). Elizabeth Hughes

2 comments:

Le Loup said...

Aha, excellent! Just what I was looking for. Thank you.
Regards.
http://woodsrunnersdiary.blogspot.com/
http://livinghistory.proforums.org/

BWS said...

Thank you, Keith.