Portrait of Seth Winsor
Rufus Hathaway, American, Portrait of Seth Winsor, ca. 1793-1795, Oil on canvas; 96.5 x 63.5 cm (38 x 25 inches), Gift of Daphne Farago Americana Collection 84.229
Rufus Hathaway’s artistic career is documented in about two dozen portraits, views, and overmantels rendered in the simplified style associated with the American limner tradition. He painted several members of the family of merchant Joshua Winsor of Duxbury, Massachusetts, among them young Seth (b. 1782), attired in a long coat and striped vest. Posed as a dignified scholar with a hand on one hip and a book under his arm, Seth Winsor is unusual in his curious manner of tucking one finger behind the others. The flat shading and stiffness of the figure reflect Hathaway’s lack of formal study, but the swag of drapery and the boy’s elegant pose indicate the artist’s familiarity with prints of eighteenth-century American and European portraiture.