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Art & Design

John Singleton Copley
American, ca. 1738-1815
Portrait of the Honorable Moses Gill, Esq., 1764
Oil on canvas
126.4 x 100.3 cm (49 3/4 x 39 1/2 inches)
Jesse Metcalf Fund 07.117

On View

John Singleton Copley

Portrait of the Honorable Moses Gill, Esq.

John Singleton Copley
American, ca. 1738-1815
Portrait of the Honorable Moses Gill, Esq., 1764
Oil on canvas
126.4 x 100.3 cm (49 3/4 x 39 1/2 inches)
Jesse Metcalf Fund 07.117

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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