Identification and Creation
Object Number
Unidentified Artist
Previously attributed to Nathaniel Emmons, American (Boston, MA 1704 - 1740 Boston, MA)
Council of Ministers
Work Type
c. 1744
Creation Place: North America, United States, Massachusetts, Newburyport
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Oil on wood panel
77.3 x 106 cm (30 7/16 x 41 3/4 in.)
framed: 87 x 113 x 2.9 cm (34 1/4 x 44 1/2 x 1 1/8 in.)
Painted for the State Street, Newburyport home of Rev. John Lowell, c. 1744; upon his death in 1767, the building passes to his son, John Lowell, Jr.; the building sold to Patrick Tracy in 1771 and moved from State Street to Temple Street; purchased by George Fitz, 1851, at approximately which time seemingly purchased or gifted to James Russell Lowell through T.W. Higginson and transferred to his home, Elmwood, Cambridge, MA, thence through the owners of Elmwood; Prof. Arthur Kingsley Porter, to his wife, Lucy Kingsley Porter; Dr. Francis Lowell Burnett and Mrs. Esther Lowell C. Burnett.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Dr. Francis L. Burnett and Mrs. Esther Lowell Cunningham
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

"An Old Relic", The Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, MA, July 16, 1841), vol. XL, n.p.

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "For the Herald", The Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, MA, March 25, 1850), vol. XVIII, n.p.

Mrs. E. Vale Smith, History of Newburyport (Newburyport, MA, 1854), p. 330

George Lunt, ed., Old New England Traits (New York, NY, 1873), pp. 52-53

F. H. Underwood, "James Russell Lowell", Harper's Weekly (1881), vol. LXII, p. 254

Professor Charles Eliot Norton, ed., Letters of James Russell Lowell (New York, NY, 1894), p. 170, see letter of 1/23/1850

John J. Currier, Ould Newbury (Boston, MA, 1896), pp. 451-452

Sarah Anna Emery, Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian (Newburyport, MA, 1896), p. 205

Louise Karr, "A Council of Ministers", The Magazine Antiques (1927), vol. 2, pp. 45-46, ill. p. 45

James Truslow Adams, Provincial Society, 1690-1763, The Macmillan Company (New York, NY, 1927), p. 154, pl.

Alan Burroughs, "An Early Overmantle", Art in America (1941), vol. 29, pp. 227-229, ill. opp. p. 223

Nina Fletcher Little, American Decorative Wall Painting: 1700-1850 (Sturbridge, MA, 1952), p. 46, fig. 47

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. 3, ill.

John Dillenberger, The Visual Arts and Christianity in America: The Colonial Period through the Nineteenth Century, Scholars Press (Chico, CA, 1984), pl. 3

Peter Benes, "Artists in Newbury and Newburyport before 1835", Essex Institute Historical Collections (1985), vol. 212, pp. 225-26, pp. 225-26

Peter Benes, Old-Town and the Waterside, exh. cat., Historical Society of Old Newbury (Newburyport, MA, 1986), p. 91, no. 72, ill.

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 (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 486-87, cat. 450, ill.

Exhibition History

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

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at