Framed oil portrait of Ashley Hubbard (1792-1861) painted by Erastus Salisbury Field (1805-1900) in the winter of 1836-1837. The painting descended in the Hubbard family to Catherine Newton Hubbard (1910-198?), daughter of George Caleb Hubbard (b.1878) and Florence Graves Hubbard, granddaughter of Parker Dole Hubbard (1825-1895) and Elizabeth Newton Hubbard (1842-1915), great-granddaughter of Ashley Hubbard and Betsey Dole Hubbard (1794-1862), and great-great granddaughter of Caleb Hubbard (1754-1850) and Lucretia Ashley Hubbard (1767-1853) of the Hubbard Tavern in the Plumtree section of Sunderland. Born in Leverett, Mass., Field worked mainly painting the middle-class citizens of rural New England. Though he studied painting with Samuel F. B. Morse (1791-1872) in New York for 3 months from Dec. 1824 to Feb. 1825, Field continued to paint in a country style. His portraits, with their flat compositions and blunt directness, were popular in rural towns and small cities along the Connecticut River Valley, from Greenfield and Northampton in the north to Hartford and New Haven in the south. His rapid style conveyed details of clothing and facial expressions with minimum brushwork; Field could complete a full portrait of an adult sitter in a day's time at a cost of $5, and created over 1500 paintings over his career. Although each portrait captures a distinct personality, his portraits share stiffly formal characteristics such as refined silk dresses, woolen coats, and mahogany furniture, along with other symbols of fashion, status, education, and civic-mindedness. They also often depict their subjects with triangular-shaped shoulders and elf-like ears. After decades as an itinerant portrait painter, Field met the new competition from photography (introduced by his former teacher, Morse) by using the technology to provide his portraits with sharper realism; he later became interested in romantic, imaginative landscapes that illustrate religious allegories, and political and historical narratives, the best-known being his "Historical Monument of the American Republic" in the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Mass. The nephew of Lucretia Ashley Hubbard and Caleb Hubbard, Field stayed with the Hubbard family in Plumtrees from 1836, off and on during his career, and painted 11 members of the family. HD's collection of Hubbard family portraits by Field include: Caleb Hubbard (HD 89.044) and his wife, Lucretia Ashley Hubbard (HD 89.045); their daughter Harriet Henderson Hubbard (2005.12.2), their son, Ashley Hubbard (HD 89.010) and two of his wife, Betsy Dole Hubbard (HD 89.010 and 89.046); and children, Israel Wales Hubbard (HD 2005.1), Nancy Henderson Hubbard (HD 2012.6), Parker Dole Hubbard (2005.21), Stephen Ashley Hubbard (HD 91.002), and Elizabeth Peck Hubbard (HD 91.002). The half-length portrait shows the 45 yr. man with dark brown hair wearing white shirt and black waistcoat and jacket, holding a copy of a copy of "The Boston Statesman" dated Saturday, March 4, 1837. Facing slightly to his right, Ashley is sitting at the end of a black horsehair sofa with his right arm over the wooden frame, which is in front of a red drape (Field commonly used red highlights in his compositions) that is drawn back to his right to reveal a landscape with hills on the right (may be Sugar Loaf in South Deerfield), and a column base.
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