Unfinished Portrait of Nathaniel Hurd (1729-1777)
29 3/8 x 24 5/8 in. (74.6 x 62.5 cm)
John Singleton Copley
(Boston, MA?, 1738 - 1815, London, England)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Location: Currently on view
Nathaniel Hurd (1730-1778), silversmith, goldsmith, and engraver, was a member of a distinguished Boston family of silversmiths. In addition to creating a number of silver pieces, he was well-known for his bookplates, which were designed for many distinguished colonial families including Loyalists and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and were based on heraldic motifs (to which they may or may not have been entitled). Hurd also designed a plate for his own family, as well as bookplates for both Harvard and Dartmouth Colleges. The bookplates provide an unusual link to the social and intellectual climate of the times, and literally speak volumes about sociocultural aspirations of eighteenth-century America.
Hurd was a contemporary of Copley’s. This ca. 1765 portrait, Copley’s first to depict a fellow artisan in working costume, had been preceded by an earlier miniature that Copley had painted of Hurd in 1755.
[Gallery label text, 1996]