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Mrs. Alexander Cumming, née Elizabeth Goldthwaite, later Mrs. John Bacon

John Singleton Copley

American Art

In these two paintings, Abigail Pickman and Elizabeth Goldthwaite sat for their marriage portraits. As was typical of upper-class white women in the colonial United States, they likely did not control how they were represented in these images, which were intended to project the family’s stability and wealth.

Before the American Revolution, the Boston painter John Singleton Copley was the most sought-after artist in the country. Copley’s portraits, highly regarded for their skillful rendering of luxurious items such as silks and pearls, were synonymous with the tastes of the eighteenth-century social elite, both in the United States and England.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1770
DIMENSIONS 29 13/16 × 24 11/16 in. (75.7 × 62.7 cm) frame: 35 1/2 × 30 5/8 × 2 3/4 in. (90.2 × 77.8 × 7 cm)  (show scale)
SIGNATURE Signed lower right (initials in monogram): "J S C p. Bost 1770"
CREDIT LINE Gift of Walter H. Crittenden
PROVENANCE 1770, commissioned from the artist by Elizabeth Goldthwaite Cumming (Mrs. Alexander Cumming, later Mrs. John Bacon); by 1873, inherited from Elizabeth Goldthwaite Cumming Bacon by Elizabeth Bacon Colt (Mrs. Elizabeth G. Colt) of Pittsfield, MA; 1890, inherited from Elizabeth Bacon Colt by Fannie Elizabeth Colt of Pittsfield, MA; before 1922, inherited by Walter Hayden Crittenden of Brooklyn, NY; December 13, 1922, gift of Walter Hayden Crittenden to the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815). Mrs. Alexander Cumming, née Elizabeth Goldthwaite, later Mrs. John Bacon, 1770. Oil on canvas, 29 13/16 × 24 11/16 in. (75.7 × 62.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Walter H. Crittenden, 22.84 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 22.84_PS20.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 22.84_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2024
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