DINING FOR BIRTHDAY SINGAPORE

By 1760 Copley’s style had matured enough to do justice to these accoutrements. But in contrast to the flattering portrait conventions adopted by the majority of European artists, he recorded the physical presence of his sitters with striking realism. The rich satins which cocoon the daughters of Isaac Royall, a wealthy Tory merchant from Medford, only serve to emphasize their vulnerability and touching sibling loyalty. The grandeur of scale and setting in Copley’s first full-length portrait is at odds with its down-to-earth subject, Nathaniel Sparhawk, a plain, bluff merchant from Kittery, Maine. When Copley painted John Hancock seated informally at his ledger in 1765, the sitter had just inherited an enormous fortune and a fine house on Beacon Hill from his uncle, Thomas Hancock.

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