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Maker(s):Copley, John Singleton (attributed)
Culture:American (1738-1815)
Title:Mrs. Arthur Browne
Date Made:circa 1757
Materials:oil, canvas, wood
Place Made:United States; New Hampshire; Portsmouth (probably)
Measurements:overall: 35 1/2 x 30 3/8 x 2 1/4 in.; 90.17 x 77.1525 x 5.715 cm
Accession Number:  HD 55.085
Credit Line:Museum purchase
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Framed oil, half-length portrait of Mary Cox Browne (d.1773) with long brown hair tumbling over her right shoulder, wearing a blue silk robe with white lace around the neckline and a string of pearls across the front opening, and a red sash around her shoulders, which is unsigned but attributed to John Singleton Copley (1738-1815). There is an old label glued to the stretcher: "Boston Atheneum / National Sailors' Fair / Subject Mrs. Browne / Artist Copley / Owner's address Rev. Charles Burroughs Portsmouth;" and the remains of a brittle letter glued to the stretcher: "this picture was given me by the representative of my old and valued friend Mrs. Burroughs (at her) request. (? obit) she was the widow of Rev. Charles Burroughs of Portsmouth. D. Successor of Arthur Browne as ???." HD also owns Copley's portrait of her husband, the Reverend Arthur Browne (HD 55.084). Born in Ireland, Arthur Browne (1699-1773) received both his M.A. from Trinity College, Dublin, and was ordained deacon and Episcopal priest for the Society of Missionaries by the Bishop of London in 1729. He also married Mary Cox, the daughter of Rev. Thomas Cox, D.D., of Drogheda, Ireland, and they had nine children between the years of 1730-1746. After arriving in Newport, RI, in 1729, Browne served as the minister of King' s Chapel in Providence, RI, from 1730-1736, and then Queens' Chapel (now St. John's) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from 1736 to his death in 1773 when he died during a trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both portraits passed through several hands since they were acquired from the Brownes by Mrs. Charles Burroughs, the wife of the successor to Reverend Arthur Browne at St. John's Church. Both portraits were still owned by Mrs. Charles Burroughs of Portsmouth in 1873; and later passed to Arthur Livermore I (1766-1853), the son of Arthur and Mary Browne's daughter, Jane Browne (1734-1802) who married Samuel Livermore 1732-1803), the first US senator from New Hampshire, in 1759. The National Academy of Art has a Copley portrait of Jane Browne dated 1756, which descended in the family from Louisa Bliss Livermore (1790-1871) who married Samuel and Jane's son, Arthur Livermore I (b.1811), in 1810. Louisa Livermore bequeathed the Jane Browne portrait to her grandson, James Lauren Ford (1854-1928) of Brookhaven, NY, who sold it to the Art House in 1924. It is believed that the Arthur and Mary Browne paintings went to their son, Arthur Livermore II (b.1811); however, at some point the portraits were separated. Arthur II's daughter, Suzanna Plumridge Livermore, married an Englishman, Edmund Sutton, and moved to England, taking the portrait of Mary Cox Browne, and the Arthur Browne portrait went to the General Theological Library and was subsequently purchased by Richard Morrison in 1948. Sometime in the late 1940s/early 1950s, both portraits were probably reunited by the dealer, Norman Hirschl. Edmund and Suzanna Sutton's son Ralph Sutton of Chagford, Devon, sold the Mary Cox Browne portrait to Ellerton M. Jette, and it passed through the U.S. Customs House in Boston in 1953 where is was examined by Barbara N. Parker, Assistant in American Painting of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The Flynts bought both portraits from Jette in 1955. The portrait of Jane Browne (the daughter of the sitters) by Copley is owned by the National Gallery, Washington, DC.


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