Nicholas Boylston (1716-1771)
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
H90
People
John Singleton Copley, American (Boston, MA 1738 - 1815 London, England)
Nicholas Boylston ( 1716 - 1771)
Title
Nicholas Boylston (1716-1771)
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting
Date
1767
Places
Creation Place: North America, United States, Massachusetts, Boston
Culture
American
Location
Level 2, Room 2240, European and American Art, 17th–19th century
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
127.3 x 101.1 cm (50 1/8 x 39 13/16 in.)
framed: 145.4 x 120 x 10.2 cm (57 1/4 x 47 1/4 x 4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: JSC. 1767.
  • inscription: on book in painting, in artist's hand: LEDGE/B.
Provenance
The sitter's brother, Thomas Boylston II; the sitter's brother-in-law, Moses Gill; the sitter's nephew, Ward Nicholas Boylston; his bequest to Harvard College, 1828.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard University Portrait Collection, Bequest of Ward Nicholas Boylston to Harvard College, 1828
Object Number
H90
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
Publication History

"The Return of the Eighteenth Century", American Art, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 2-10, p. 6, ill.

Augustus Thorndyke Perkins, A Sketch of the Life and a List of Some of the Works of John Singleton Copley, J. R. Osgood & Company (Boston, MA, 1873), p. 38

William Garrott Brown, A List of Portraits in the Various Buildings of Harvard University, Harvard University Library (Cambridge, MA, 1898), p. 9

Frank William Bayley, A Sketch of the Life and a List of Some of the Works of John Singleton Copley, The Garden Press, W. B. Libby (Boston, MA, 1910), pp. 21-22

Frank William Bayley, The Life and Works of John Singleton Copley: Founded on the Work of Augustus Thorndike Perkins, The Taylor Press (Boston, MA, 1915), pp. 64-65

Cuthbert Lee, Early American Portrait Painters: The Fourteen Principal Earliest Native-born Painters, Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, CT, 1929), p. 74

Laura M. Huntsinger, Harvard Portraits: A Catalogue of Portrait Paintings at Harvard University, ed. Alan Burroughs, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1936), pp. 23-24, ill. p. 25

Barbara N. Parker and Anne Bolling Wheeler, John Singleton Copley: American Portraits in Oil, Pastel and Miniature, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1938), pp. 43-44, pl. 78

Historical Records Survey, Division of Professional and Service Projects, Works Progress Administration, American Portraits, 1620-1825, found in Massachusetts, Volumes 1 and 2, Historical Records Survey (Boston, MA, 1939), p. 46, cat. 246

Louisa Dresser, Likeness of America 1680-1820, exh. cat., Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs (Colorado Springs, 1949), cat. 16, pl. 8

From Colony to Nation: Exhibition of American Painting, Silver, and Architecture from 1650 to the War of 1812, exh. cat., The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, IL, 1949), p. 31

H.C. Warwick and Henry C. Pitz, Early American Dress, B. Blom (New York, NY, 1965), pl. 35A

John Singleton Copley, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C, 1965), pp. 48-49, cat. 29, ill.

Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 1966), vol. 1, p. 54, 66, 104, 210, pl. 182

Marshall B. Davidson, The American Heritage History of Colonial Antiques, American Heritage (New York, NY, 1967), p. 191, ill.

Alfred V. Frankenstein, The World of Copley: 1738-1815, Time-Life Books (New York, NY, 1970), pp. 84-85, ill.

Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, Peter G. Huenink, Earl A. Powell III, Harry Z. Rand, and Nanette C. Sexton, American Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), cat. 8, ill.

James Thomas Flexner, America's Old Masters, Doubleday & Co. (Garden City, NY, 1980), pl. V

Robert F. Perkins, Jr. and William J. Gavin, III, Boston Athenaeum Art Exhibition Index, 1827-1874, The Library of the Boston Athenaeum (Boston, MA, 1980), p. 39

Bernard Bailyn, The Great Republic : A History of the American People, D. C. Heath and Co. (Lexington, MA, 1980), p. 237, ill.

Leo van Witsen, Costuming for Opera, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN, 1981), p. 178

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr., Carol Troyen, and Trevor J. Fairbrother, A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting, 1760-1910, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston, MA, 1983), pp. 38,196, cat. 2, ill.

John Wilmerding, American Marine Painting, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1987), p. 10, fig. 1

Robert Shalhope, The Roots of Democracy: American Thought and Culture, 1760-1800, Twayne Publishers (Boston, MA, 1990), ill.

Morrison Heckscher and Leslie Greene Bowman, American Rococo, 1750-1775: Elegance in Ornament, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 1992), p. 138, 140, cat. 90, ill.

Timothy Anglin Burgard, American Art at Harvard: Cultures and Contexts, brochure, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1994), p. 10, cat. 20

John Caldwell, Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque, and Dale T. Johnson, American Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Volume I: A Catalogue of Works by Artists Born by 1815, ed. Kathleen Luhrs, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Princeton University Press (New York, NY and Princeton, NJ, 1994), p. 82

Ellen G. Miles, "John Singleton Copley in America", Archives of American Art Journal, Smithsonian Institution (Detroit, MI, 1994), vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 24-27, p. 27

Carrie Rebora and Paul J. Staiti, John Singleton Copley in America, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 1995), cover, pp. 54, 71, 86, 113, 137, 150-151, 222, 224-225, cat. 31, ill. p. 52

Henry Lie, Straus Center for Conservation Annual Report 1994-1995 (1996), p. 45

Carrie Rebora Barratt, "Transforming Colonists Into Goddesses and Sultans: John Singleton Copley, His Clients, and Their Studio Collaboration", The American Art Journal (1996), vol. XXVII, nos. 1 and 2, pp. 4-37, pp. 5-6, fig. 2

Robert Hughes, American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (New York, NY, 1997), pp. 84-86, fig. 54

Marianne Doezema and Elizabeth Milroy, Reading American Art, Yale University Press (U.S.) (New Haven, CT, 1998), pp. 13-15, fig. 2.1

Carrie Rebora Barratt, "Oriental Undress and the Artist", Porticus, Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester (Rochester, NY, 2001), vol. 20, 2001, pp. 18-26, pp. 22-23, fig. 4

Madelyn Shaw, Silk in New England Society, 1730-1930, brochure, Smith College Museum of Art (Northampton, MA, 2003), cat. 9

John T. Bethell, Richard M. Hunt, and Robert Shenton, Harvard A to Z, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA, 2004), p. 276

Jon Prown, "John Singleton Copley's Furniture and the Art of Invention", American Furniture, Chipstone Foundation (Milwaukee, 2004), p. 176, fig. 33

Margaretta M. Lovell, Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans, and Patrons in Early America, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 2005), p. 101, fig. 38

Timothy Marr, The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism, Cambridge University Press (U.K.) (Cambridge, UK, 2006), pp. 262-263, fig. 6.1

Angela L. Miller, Janet C. Berlo, Bryan Jay Wolf, and Jennifer L. Roberts, American Encounters: Art, History, and Cultural Identity, Pearson Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2008), pp. 122-124, fig. 4.30

David Bindman, ed., The History of British Art 1600-1870, Yale Center for British Art (New Haven, 2008), p. 45, fig. 16

Alvin L. Clark, Jr., Harvard Art Museum/ Handbook, ed. Stephan Wolohojian, Harvard Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 2008), ill. p. 124

David Jaffee, A New Nation of Goods: The Material Culture of Early America (Philadephia, PA, 2010), p. 13, fig. 6

Christopher Lukasik, Discerning Characters: The Culture of Appearance in Early America, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia and Oxford, 2011), pp. 137-138, fig. 22

Jennifer L. Roberts, Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America, University of California Press (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 2014), p. 17-18, fig. 2

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 23, 140-141, 463, cat. 87, ill.

Theodore Bolton and Henry Lorin Binsse, "John Singleton Copley", The Antiquarian (New York, NY, December 1930), pp. 116-118., p. 116

Louise Todd Ambler, Early Science at Harvard: Innovators and Their Instruments, 1765 - 1865, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, December 1969-January 1970), pp. 3, 74

Michael Zakim, "Sartorial Ideologies: From Homespun to Ready-Made" (December 2001), ill. p. 1560

Sandra Grindlay, "Harvard's Portraits: An American Treasure", Harvard University Art Museums Review (Fall 1992), vol. II, no. 1, pp. 6-7, p. 6

William Howe Downes, "Boston Painters and Paintings, Part I: The Pre-Copleyites, Copley, Trumbull", The Atlantic Monthly (Boston, MA, July 1888), vol. 62 no. 369, pp. 89-98., p. 93

William J. Shank, "John Singleton Copley's Portraits: A Technical Study of Three Representative Examples" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, July 1983), Unpublished, pp. 1-45 passim

Susan Rather, "Carpenter, Tailor, Shoemaker, Artist: Copley and Portrait Painting around 1770", The Art Bulletin, College Art Association of America (New York, NY, June 1997), v. 79, pp. 269-90, p. 277, ill. p. 279

Martin Filler, [Unidentified article], House & Garden, Conde Nast (New York, NY, March 1991)

Carol Troyen, "A Choice Gallery of Harvard Tories", Harvard Magazine, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, March 1997 - April 1997), vol. 99, pp. 56-60, ill. p. 58

Louise Todd Ambler and Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, "American Painting at Harvard", Antiques (New York, NY, November 1972), vol. 102, no. 5, pp. 876-883, p. 876

Jennifer L. Roberts, "Copley's Cargo", American Art (Summer 2007), vol. 21, pp. 20-41, p. 23

Exhibition History

Boston Athenaeum Second Exhibition of Paintings, 1828, Boston Athenaeum, Boston, 05/01/1828 - 12/31/1828

Likeness of America 1680-1820, Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, 01/01/1949 - 12/31/1949

John Singleton Copley, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 01/22/1966 - 03/06/1966; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 09/18/1965 - 10/31/1965; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 11/20/1965 - 01/02/1966

American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972

A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting, 1760-1910, Grand Palais, Paris, 03/16/1984 - 06/11/1984; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 09/07/1983 - 11/13/1983; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, 12/06/1983 - 02/12/1984

American Rococo: Eighteenth Century Elegance in Ornament, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 01/29/1992 - 05/17/1992; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 07/02/1992 - 09/27/1992

American Art at Harvard: Cultures and Contexts, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/01/1994 - 12/30/1994

John Singleton Copley in America, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 02/04/1996 - 04/28/1996; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, 05/22/1996 - 08/25/1996; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston, 06/07/1995 - 08/27/1995; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 09/26/1995 - 01/07/1996

Silk in New England Society, 1730-1930, Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, 03/28/2003 - 06/15/2003

GenEd US12 American Encounters: Art, Contact, and Conflict, 1560-1860 (S427) Spring 2012, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2012 - 05/12/2012

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Verification Level

4 - Best. Object is extensively researched, well described and information is vetted