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Maker(s):Negus, Nathan
Culture:American (1801-1825)
Title:portrait: Stephen Thayer
Date Made:ca. 1820
Materials:watercolor; paper; pencil
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts
Measurements:Frame: 5 3/4 x 4 11/16 x 3/4 in; 14.6 x 11.9 x 1.9 cm; Mat: 5 x 3.1874 in; 12.7 cm; Sight: 3 3/4 x 2.8125 in; 9.5 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2014.21
Credit Line:John W. and Christiana G.P. Batdorf Fund
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Born in Petersham, Massachusetts, Nathan Negus was the fourth son and eighth child of Joel Negus, a sign painter, and Bessy Gould Negus of Leverett, Mass. Negus was apprenticed to John Ritto Penniman (1782-1841), an ornamental painter in Boston, after studying briefly with portraitist Ethan Allen Greenwood (1779-1856) in 1815. While with Penniman, Negus organized a society for other artists in the shop to study and discuss art theory and techniques. After working in Vermont, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts in the spring and summer of 1820, Nathan Negus followed his older brother Joseph Negus to Savannah, Georgia, in December 1820. Together they traveled through upcountry Georgia and Alabama, and Nathan painted portraits and helped Joseph paint Mason cloths and ornamental work. In 1822, Joseph Negus married Elizabeth Filcont of Massachusetts and settled in Catawba, Alabama, where he died in October 1823. Increasing poor health brought Nathan back to Petersham in July 1825, where he died four days after his arrival. Framed silhouette portrait of Stephen Thayer by Nathan Negus (1801-1825). Signed "N. Negus Pinxt" l.c., inscribed on the reverse "ST Stephen Thayer at 16 born in Upton or Mendon July 24 1803," and further inscribed "speak not evil one of another." Watercolor en grisaille on paper, the subject shown bust-length, wearing a white collar and black buttoned coat, in original, reverse painted glass frame. The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Library of Deerfield, MA, owns the Negus Family papers. Stephen Thayer (b. July 24, 1803) was the fifth child of Smith and Abigail Drake Thayer of Mendon and then Petersham, MA. Stephen married Joanna Pond of Keene, NH on February 2, 1826. They lived in New Ipswich, NH where Stephen manufactured cigars. Stephen died on 11 Jan. 1890. Nathan Negus also drew the portrait of his brother Henry Thayer (1796- 1822).


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