Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Joseph Blackburn (ca. 1730 – after 1778)


Portrait of Mrs. Thomas Flucker (née Hannah Waldo)

Creation Date

ca. 1755


18th century


50 1/8 in. x 40 in. (127.32 cm x 101.6 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

oil on canvas

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Lucy Flucker Thatcher


Public Domain

Accession Number

Joseph Blackburn was perhaps the most au courant of the small number of trained English painters working in the American colonies during the mid-eighteenth century. A master of the fashionable French idiom known as Rococo, Blackburn was among the first painters to bring its elegant poses and pastel colors to British America. He was heavily patronized by the colonial elite, who were anxious to have their portraits painted in what was a cutting-edge style, even by London standards. In 1751 Hannah Waldo, the daughter of Brigadier General Samuel Waldo whose portrait is nearby, married Thomas Flucker; his portrait by Copley also hangs nearby. Although Hannah’s pose is derived from English mezzotints, Blackburn has imbued her with delicacy and life. The original frame is, like her father’s, the work of an unidentified but talented Boston carver working in the Rococo style.

Keywords: portraits  

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