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Colonel Nathan Beckwith

Ammi Phillips

American Art

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 posture 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.

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES ca. 1817
DIMENSIONS 30 1/2 x 24 9/16 in. (77.4 x 62.4 cm) frame: 34 3/4 x 28 3/4 x 3 3/8 in. (88.3 x 73 x 8.6 cm)
INSCRIPTIONS Inscribed on envelope, lower right: Col 1 Nathan Beckwith/ Redhook/ Dutches [sic] County"; with the postmark "Troy" and the number "10".
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mrs. Harold J. Roig
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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