Artist/Maker: Mather Brown (1761-1831)
Created: 1788 (copy)
Materials: oil on canvas
Dimensions: 91.4 × 71.1 x (36 × 28 1/16 in.)
Provenance: John and Abigail Adams; by descent to Charles F. Adams; by bequest to the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; copy produced for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Historical Notes: One of the more promising students of Benjamin West in London was Mather Brown, a young American who was active in London for a period of time after 1781. Born in Massachusetts, he was an early pupil of Gilbert Stuart. By 1785 Brown's popularity in London was such that he attracted the patronage of John and Abigail Adams.
Jefferson visited England in the spring of 1786. He not only sat for Brown for a portrait for John and Abigail Adams but also must have seen Brown's likeness of Adams (1785).
Jefferson finally received both portraits, together with a "polyplasiasmos" and a picture of George Washington for the Marquis de Lafayette, in late August or early September of 1788.
- Text from Stein, Worlds, 126
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