This portrait depicts one half of a prominent couple from Dutchess Country. Nathan Beckwith was a land surveyor and his wife was the sister of Mary Lyon, founder of Mount Holyoke, the first American women's college. Their social status as rural gentry is suggested by their dignified pasture and the attractive painted Federal-style chairs. Ammi Phillips was an itinerant painter who sought commissions in New York, western Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Apparently self-taught, he nevertheless modeled his images on the fashionable portrait conventions of the day. His style evolved from the simple forms and pastel colors of these early works to the large shapes and bold colors in the later portrait of Jeannette Woolley Storm.
- Artist: Ammi Phillips, American, 1788-1865
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dates: ca. 1817
- Dimensions: 30 1/2 x 24 9/16 in. (77.4 x 62.4 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Unsigned
- Inscriptions: Inscribed on book, lower left: "Betsey Beckwith"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Making Art: Centennial Era, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 79.133.1
- Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Harold J. Roig
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Ammi Phillips (American, 1788-1865). Betsey Beckwith, ca. 1817. Oil on canvas, 30 1/2 x 24 9/16 in. (77.4 x 62.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Harold J. Roig, 79.133.1
- Record Completeness: Best (86%)