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FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN BLYTH (America, Early 19th Century), Portrait of Judge John Lowell, Oil on ca

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FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN BLYTH (America, Early 19th Century), Portrait of Judge John Lowell, Oil on ca
Item Details
Description
FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN BLYTH
America, Early 19th Century
Portrait of Judge John Lowell (1743-1802) depicted at the tomb of his first wife, Sarah Higginson Lowell. Known as "The Old Judge," John Lowell was the patriarch of the Boston Lowell family. Unsigned. By tradition, this painting is attributed to Blyth, but it is likely an early copy of Blyth's original pastel portrait. This is believed to be the only known portrait of Lowell in existence.
Oil on canvas, 21" x 17". Framed 25" x 20".
Illustrated:
Cover illustration for "The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport", published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.

Provenance:
An important New England collection.
Notes:This information courtesy of Bettina A. Norton, whose research is in her book on Benjamin Blyth, to be published this fall. She can be reached at toninorton1@gmail.com:This oil portrait of Lowell, offered by Christie, Manson & Woods International Inc., in its sale of April 24, 1981, was attributed to “Benjamin Blythe” with a disclaimer on authenticity for good reasons: it is atypical of Blyth, more smoothly modeled than most of his portraits in oil, and with background details, the drapery and an obelisk memorializing the death of Lowell’s first wife, Sarah, when it was painted poses a problem. Although the date of Sarah’s death on the obelisk is correct, her age was not; she was twenty-eight, not thirty-three. If the painting were done when Lowell was still alive, it presumably would have had the correct death date for his wife. However, the composition and the draftsmanship of the face bespeak Blyth, and the age of the sitter dates the portrayal to the mid-1770s. One possibility is that the oil was based on a pastel by Blyth and that the obelisk may have been added at that time, along with the background drapery. Provenance would help solve the question, but a valid surmise is that it was painted for one of the children by his first marriage. According to a recent owner, this painting was reframed at some point and may have had some restorative repainting.


Dimensions: Oil on canvas, 21" x 17". Framed 25" x 20".

Artist: BLYTH, FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN (America 18th Century)
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FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN BLYTH (America, Early 19th Century), Portrait of Judge John Lowell, Oil on ca

Estimate $4,000 - $6,000
Jul 27, 2022
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Starting Price $2,000
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Ships from East Dennis, MA, United States
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2520: FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN BLYTH (America, Early 19th Century), Portrait of Judge John Lowell, Oil on ca

Lot Passed
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Est. $4,000 - $6,000Starting Price $2,000
The Summer Sale - Session 2
Jul 27, 2022 9:30 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 25%

Lot 2520 Details

Description
...
FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN BLYTH
America, Early 19th Century
Portrait of Judge John Lowell (1743-1802) depicted at the tomb of his first wife, Sarah Higginson Lowell. Known as "The Old Judge," John Lowell was the patriarch of the Boston Lowell family. Unsigned. By tradition, this painting is attributed to Blyth, but it is likely an early copy of Blyth's original pastel portrait. This is believed to be the only known portrait of Lowell in existence.
Oil on canvas, 21" x 17". Framed 25" x 20".
Illustrated:
Cover illustration for "The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport", published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.

Provenance:
An important New England collection.
Notes:This information courtesy of Bettina A. Norton, whose research is in her book on Benjamin Blyth, to be published this fall. She can be reached at toninorton1@gmail.com:This oil portrait of Lowell, offered by Christie, Manson & Woods International Inc., in its sale of April 24, 1981, was attributed to “Benjamin Blythe” with a disclaimer on authenticity for good reasons: it is atypical of Blyth, more smoothly modeled than most of his portraits in oil, and with background details, the drapery and an obelisk memorializing the death of Lowell’s first wife, Sarah, when it was painted poses a problem. Although the date of Sarah’s death on the obelisk is correct, her age was not; she was twenty-eight, not thirty-three. If the painting were done when Lowell was still alive, it presumably would have had the correct death date for his wife. However, the composition and the draftsmanship of the face bespeak Blyth, and the age of the sitter dates the portrayal to the mid-1770s. One possibility is that the oil was based on a pastel by Blyth and that the obelisk may have been added at that time, along with the background drapery. Provenance would help solve the question, but a valid surmise is that it was painted for one of the children by his first marriage. According to a recent owner, this painting was reframed at some point and may have had some restorative repainting.


Dimensions: Oil on canvas, 21" x 17". Framed 25" x 20".

Artist: BLYTH, FOLLOWER OF BENJAMIN (America 18th Century)

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