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Maker(s):Wollaston, John
Culture:English (active 1742-1775)
Title:portrait: Stephen Greenleaf
Date Made:1750-1752
Materials:oil on canvas, wood, gilt, paint
Place Made:United States, New York, New York City (probably) or Pennsylvania; Philadelphia
Measurements:framed: 34 x 30 in.; 86.36 x 76.2 cm
Accession Number:  HD 56.172
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Portrait of Stephen Greenleaf (1704-1795), a 1723 Harvard graduate and successful Boston businessman, who was the last Sheriff of Suffolk County (now Suffolk and Norfolk Counties, and Hingham and Hull) under the King and received an hornorary degree (A.M.) from Yale in 1750. He remained a Tory during the Revolution and his arrest was ordered by the Council of Massachusetts in April, 1776. He resigned his offices after the Revolution and remained in Boston where he died in 1795. On Nov. 20, 1788, Charles Bulfinch, the architect, married his cousin, Hannah Apthorp, who was also Stephen Greenleaf's grandaughter (parents Hannah Greenleaf and John Apthorp). According to a note in the data file, the painting, which was briefly in the collection of Miss Ima Hogg, was owned by the Bulfinch family of Cambridge, Mass, and donated to Massachusetts Historical Society by Miss Ellen Susan Bulfinch in May 1915. The English painter, John Wollaston (active 1736-1775), was possibly the son of London portraitist, John Woolaston (c.1672-1749); John Jr. may have received instruction from Joseph Van Acken (1709-1749), a successful drapery painter in London before coming to New York City in 1749 where he was listed as a portrait painter. Greenwood left about three hundred portraits in the colonies. In spring, 1752, he left NYC to work in a series of cities: Philadelphia in 1752, and returned 1758 to mid-1759; Anapolis, Maryland, from early 1753 to about 1755; Virginia from about 1755 to October 1757; time in Bermuda and India; and returned to Charleston, South Carolina, where he painted some 20 additionals portraits before returning to England in1767. Wollaston is said to be one of several painters who introduced English rococo portraiture with its emphasis on graceful poses, pastel colors, and skillfully rendered costumes to the American colonies. During his time in Philadelphia, he influenced native-born artists such as Benjamin West (1738-1820) and John Hesselius (1728-1778). Most of his works are bust- and three-quarter-length views of individual sitters, such as this example.


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