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Title:portrait: Reverend John Williams?
Date Made:ca. 1707
Materials:oil on canvas, wax lined, wood, paint
Place Made:United States
Measurements:frame: 37 x 32 in.; canvas: 30 1/2 x 30 1/4
Accession Number:  HD 80.015
Credit Line:Mr. and Mrs. Hugh B. Vanderbilt Fund for Curatorial Acquisitions
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Oil on canvas portrait of a minister, probably the Reverend John Williams (1664-1729) of Deerfield. John Williams was early Deerfield's spiritual and intellectual leader, prepared by a Harvard education and his social connections to the power structure of Massachusetts. Williams was taken to Cananda as a prisoner with many of his congregation after the 1704 attack on Deerfield. Following a prisoner exchange, Williams returned to Deerfield in 1707 and published a book about their captivity, "The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion" and commissioned his portrait, perhaps from Nehemiah Partridge (1683-c.1737). John Williams' first wife, Eunice Mather, was killed during the 1704 attack; he married Abigail Allen Bissell (1673-1754) in Sept. 1707. The bust-lenght portrait of a clergyman is in a painted spandrel, in a black painted frame. The sitter wears a black gown with Geneva Bands at the neck. The curly wig (or the sitter's own hair) done in early 18th century fashion parted near the middle, is a recognizable feature. The face of the sitter, who appears to be about age 40, is characterized by a long straight nose, rather thin pursed lips, large oval eyes with dark eyebrows, full cheeks, rather high forehead, and somewhat self-satisfied expression. The picture was purchased from Weiss Auctioneers & Appraisers, April 30, 1980, at auction. There was a typewritten label stuck to the back of the canvas stating that this was the Reverend John Williams, and the auctioneers noted that it was the property of a local collector who had found it in the attic of a family with roots in Deerfield.


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