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Portrait of a Connecticut Clockmaker

ca. 1800 Attributed to Ralph Earl Born: Massachusetts 1751 Died: Bolton, Connecticut 1801 oil on wood 10 1/4 x 7 7/8 in. (26.1 x 20.1 cm) oval Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Orrin Wickersham June 1967.136.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 1B


Luce Center Label

Ralph Earl was born into a prominent family of craftsmen, and his portraits are painted with sharp attention to detail. In this painting the subject sits in a Sheraton “fancy” armchair, a type that was especially popular in the Connecticut Valley, where Earl worked. The wooden clock on the tea table might be a kind of clock that was developed in that region for mass production. The clock and books are emblems of the subject’s skill and education, which have earned him a respectable and influential position in society. Earl also portrayed the clockmaker’s wife, and the two portraits were meant to be shown together as pendants.

Keywords

Cityscape - Connecticut

Occupation - craft - clockmaker

Portrait male - unidentified

painting

paint - oil

wood

About Attributed to Ralph Earl

Born: Massachusetts 1751 Died: Bolton, Connecticut 1801

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Attributed to Ralph Earl