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Art & Design

John Singleton Copley
American, ca. 1738-1815
Portrait of Rebecca Boylston Gill, ca. 1773
Oil on canvas
126.4 x 100.3 cm (49 3/4 x 39 1/2 inches)
Museum purchase with funds from Isaac C. Bates, William Gammell, Henry D. Sharpe, Miss Ellen D. Sharpe, Elizabeth A. Shepard, Daniel B. Updike, the Honorable George P. Wetmore and Mrs. Gustav Radeke 07.120

On View

John Singleton Copley

Portrait of Rebecca Boylston Gill

John Singleton Copley
American, ca. 1738-1815
Portrait of Rebecca Boylston Gill, ca. 1773
Oil on canvas
126.4 x 100.3 cm (49 3/4 x 39 1/2 inches)
Museum purchase with funds from Isaac C. Bates, William Gammell, Henry D. Sharpe, Miss Ellen D. Sharpe, Elizabeth A. Shepard, Daniel B. Updike, the Honorable George P. Wetmore and Mrs. Gustav Radeke 07.120

These imposing likenesses of the Honorable Moses Gill, Esq. (1734–1800) and his second wife, Rebecca Boylston Gill (1728–1798), are among four Copley portraits in the Museum’s collection. Along with his portrait of Gill’s first wife, Sarah Prince Gill, and his portrait of Theodore Atkinson, they indicate the breadth of the artist’s American career. Copley’s early forthrightness and clarity of obser-vation are apparent in the portrait of then-thirty-year-old Moses Gill, a merchant and landowner whose prosperity is emblematized by the silk waistcoat that accentuates his girth. Gill served as lieutenant governor of Massachusetts from 1794 to 1799 and then as acting governor until his death in 1800. Portrayed around the time of their marriage, his wife is depicted carrying long-stemmed lilies, her coiffure fashionably bound with a striped silk turban.


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