Portrait of a Connecticut Clockmaker

  • Ralph Earl, Portrait of a Connecticut Clockmaker, ca. 1800, oil on wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Orrin Wickersham June, 1967.136.2

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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.

Portrait of a Connecticut Clockmaker
Attributed to Ralph Earl
ca. 1800
10 1/4 x 7 7/8 in. (26.1 x 20.1 cm) oval
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Orrin Wickersham June

Mediums Description
oil on wood
  • Occupation – craft – clockmaker
  • Portrait male – unidentified
  • Cityscape – Connecticut
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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