Attributed to Ralph Earl, Sr. (Massachussetts/Connecticut, 1751-1801), three quarter length oil on canvas portrait of Tamar Boardman Taylor (1723-1795), wife of Rev. Nathaniel Taylor, attired in an 18th century black dress with lace cap and fichu and lace trimmed sleeves and black fingerless gloves. She is depicted seated in a red chair with red drape background to her left and village landscape visible through a window to her right, including a view of a church. Housed in a foliate-carved 20th century gilt wood frame. Sight – 47" H x 36 1/2" W. Framed – 54 1/2" H x 43 3/4" W. American, late 18th century. Biography & Provenance: Tamar Boardman Taylor was the daughter of Reverend Daniel Boardman and married Reverend Nathaniel Taylor (1722-1800) of New Milford, Connecticut in 1748/49. According to the book "History of the Towns of New Milford and Bridgewater, Connecticut, 1803-1882," Hartford, CT: Press of the Case, Lockward and Brainard Co, 1882, transcribed by Sandra Boudrou: "There are five large portraits of Mr. Taylor and his wife, painted by the artist Earl. He (Reverend Taylor) is represented in his pulpit with a small Bible in his hand. These portraits were in possession of the great grandson, George Taylor of Milford". The Newark Museum of Newark, New Jersey has one of the portraits of Mrs. Nathaniel Taylor by Ralph Earl (identical to this painting, including size) and the Addison Gallery of American Art of Andover, Massachusetts, is believed to have one of the Earl portraits of Rev. Nathaniel Taylor. Earl was known to have painted at least 19 members of the Boardman family and several members of the Taylor family. The Newark Museum is aware of at least one painting that is nearly identical to the one in their collection, possibly this one. At the time they were made aware of it (in 1970), it was owned by a New Jersey dealer. This painting was discovered in a Texas estate and its provenance prior to then is unknown. Biography: Ralph Earl began his portrait painting career near his home of Worcester County, Mass., but – loyal to the British Crown – he went to London during the Revolutionary War. He studied with Benjamin West and exhibited at the Royal Academy. There his drawing improved and his compositions became more complex, and his use of color became more sophisticated. He also experimented in England with different formats and introduced landscapes and complex interiors into the backgrounds of his portraits. These would become signature features of his later American work. The final period of his life included three years' residence in New York City and thirteen years as a traveling artist in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont. Earl is best recognized for portraits that include landscape settings specifically related to the lives of his sitters or interiors decorated with furniture, professional attributes, books, and other possessions that help to individualize his patrons' identities. The artist's brother James Earl (1761-1796), son Ralph E. W. Earl (1785/88-1838), and nephew Augustus Earl (1793-1838) were artists as well. (source: The Worcester Art Museum) CONDITION: Canvas relined, revarnished and mounted on a new stretcher. Some inpainting visible under blacklight to side of face between eye and hair and below mouth at left side facing; also by her left hand and elbow and below lace fichu and in other areas in background. Overall craquelure; painting thin in some spots suggesting harsh cleaning. Later frame.
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