Portrait of Elizabeth Bowdoin and James Bowdoin III
TitlePortrait of Elizabeth Bowdoin and James Bowdoin III
Creation Dateca. 1760
Medium & Supportoil on canvas
Dimensions36 7/8 in. x 58 1/16 in. (93.7 cm. x 147.4 cm.)
Commentary18th century American painting
Credit LineBequest of Mrs. Sarah Bowdoin Dearborn
Blackburn was an English painter active in American only between 1754 and 1763. This charming double portrait depicts the children, aged probably ten and eight respectively, not as miniature adults but as young, spirited, and engaging individuals. Blackburn’s familiarity with English rococo painting is visible in the children’s costume as well as in the overall delicate palette and handling. The imagined landscape behind functions almost as an artificial theatrical backdrop; soon painters would devote themselves to rendering the beauty and vastness of the American landscape.