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Title:portrait: Robert Stoddard, Jr.
Date Made:1790-1795, frame ca. 1770
Materials:oil on canvas, wood, gilding
Place Made:United States; New York (probably) or Rhode Island; Newport?
Measurements:overall: 42 in x 35 1/2 in; 106.7 cm x 90.2 cm
Narrative Inscription:  printed in red ink on a sticker on proper left top corner of stretcher: "1.11.45 C1 A. Duveen/'Robert Stoddard, Jr,;"
Accession Number:  HD 1269
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Framed oil portrait of a young man who, according to family tradition, is Robert Stoddard, Jr. (1760-1802) of Newport, Rhode Island, son of Captain Robert Stoddard (1719-1776), a wealthy merchant and ship owner, and Mary Pease Stoddard (1738-1765), daughter of of Martha (1698-1779) and Simon Pease (1695-1769), whom Captain Stoddard married in 1756. The portrait was thought to be by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), painted in Newport in 1775; however, Robert, Jr. would have only been 15 years old in 1775. According to written material and photographs by sisters Mary Stoddard Lewis and Jonnie Louise Lewis which came with the portrait, Stoddard, Jr. was baptised on Jan 1, 1762 in Trinity Church, Newport. Initially a Tory, in 1776 Robert Jr. joined up as a midshipman on a British man-of-war stationed in Newport; he later escaped and joined his father's relatives, the Townsends, of Oyster Bay, LI. There he claimed to have joined the colonial forces, and married Sarah Coles of Oyster Bay in 1778 (NY marriage licence records have Mar 16, 1779). Since his father had died shortly after Robert, Jr. left Newport, the estate was eventually declared enemy property and sequestered. In 1784, Robert Jr. returned to Newport where he was reinstated as an American citizen and was given back most of his property; he later returned to NY where he died in 1802. The Lewis sisters stated that in 1938 they sold this portrait and one of Captain Robert Stoddard (probably HD 1677) to Albert Duveen (1892-1965), a noted New York art dealer of the early to mid 20th century; and that Robert Stoddard, Jr., bequeathed the two portraits to his son, Robert William Stoddard (1793-1838). Robert William Stoddard left these two portraits and a portrait of Simon Peace (willed to him by his great aunt) to his sister, Hannah Stoddard Thompson. Hannah left the three portraits plus a portrait of herself and pastel of her husband to her niece, Mary Elizabeth Stoddard, daughter of Robert William Stoddard and wife of James Thomas Lewis; Mary Elizabeth was the mother of the two sisters. The Underhill Collection has the correspondence and papers of Underhill and Stoddard descendent (through Robert Jr.'s first daughter Sarah who married William Underhill in 1798), Myron C. Taylor (1874-1959), Chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel and diplomat, that Duveen was acting as Taylor's agent in the 1930s in buying family-related material such as Robert Feke’s portrait of Simon Pease (probably the one mentioned above), which appears in "Portraits of George Washington and Other Eighteenth Century Americans: Loan Exhibition Sponsored by the Sons of the American Revolution February 13 to March 4 1939" (New York: M Knoedler & Company, 1939). The papers have also a copy of another Stoddard descendent, Josephine Frost’s article, “Pease-Stoddard Bible Record,” torn from the April 1938, "New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Record." There is no record in that correspondence of Taylor buying these two Stoddard portraits or of where they were until bought by the Flynts in 1950 from Ginsburg & Levy. This portrait show a man wearing a white cravat, and jacket and waistcoat with gold buttons; his head is slightly turned to the right looking for forward with his left hand inside his waistcoat and his right hand on his lap holding a red leather-covered book and sitting in an armchair with brass tacks holding the cover, and green drapery in the background.

Label Text:
Exhibited in "Rococo: Celebrating 18th-Century Design and Decoration" (2018-2019): This portrait of a young man is, according to family tradition, Robert Stoddard, Jr., of Newport, Rhode Island. Its frame is a later 18th-century American adaptation of an earlier English carved wood frame design. Its outisde edge comprises interlocking C and S scrolls on top of stylized plant motifs, with bold cartouches at each corner. The inner edge of the frame, just inside of the plain, molded liner, is gadrooned. This motif was adapted from silver and incorporated into Rococo furniture and interiors because of its sense of movement, and pleasing repetitive configuration.


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