Jonathan Simpson (1711-1795)

Joseph Blackburn, English, active 1752 - 1778, active in North America, 1754 - 176


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Oil on canvas

Overall: 50 1/2 × 40 3/8 in. (128.3 × 102.6 cm)

Frame: 58 × 48 1/2 in. (147.3 × 123.2 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through gifts from the Lathrop Fellows, a gift from W. David Dance, Class of 1940 in memory of Jane Dance, and through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund, the Florence and Lansing Porter Moore 1937 Fund, the Katharine T. and Merrill G. Beede 1929 Fund, the Class of 1935 Memorial Fund, the Julia L. Whittier Fund, and the Phyllis and Bertram Geller 1937 Memorial Fund



Place Made: United States, North America



Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Signed, dated, and inscribed (at center left): J. Blackburn Pinxit 1758.; inscribed in ink on old paper label with torn edges [removed and adhered to new foamcore backing]: Blackbur / Born 1700 p[. . . ] / came from Engl[ . . .]/ painted many / notable people / in the U.S.- / Copley was his / pupil -- / very little known / about Blackburn / he returned to Eng. / it was said he / [w]as very jealous / [of] Copley; inscribed in ink on old paper label, now in fragments and adhered to foamcore backing: Blackburn delin /[Jonath]an Simpson Esq. Mercht Boston / [Uncle o]f Mary Holyoke 2 wife of Dct E Aug / died at Bristol in G. B. 1795; typed on old brown paper label adhered to foamcore backing: PATENT 1971533; inscribed, in ink, on twentieth-century red-bordered gum label upper left of frame reverse: Property of / Edward H. Osgood / Jonathan Simpson / by / Joseph Blackburn; numbered, in ink, on white tape below gummed label: 132,524.1: printed gallery label adhered to foamcore backing: Hirschl & Adler / Galleries, Inc. / 21 East 70th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021 / Phone (212)535-8810 Fax (212)722-7232 / / computer-printed on lower portion of label: ARTIST: JOSEPH BLACKBURN / 1700?-1763 / NUMBER: APG 8688 / TITLE: Portrait of Jonathan Simpson / MEDIUM: Oil on canvas / SIZE: 50 ½ x 40 3/8 inches / DATE: 1758

Course History

HIST 9.1, Empires and Colonies in North America, Paul Musselwhite, Fall 2014

HIST 9.01, America: From Invasion to Independence, Paul Musselwhite, Fall 2019

Exhibition History

American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26-July 21, 2019.

Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire, March 17, 2016-June 30, 2018.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 18, 2013.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 2, 2009-November 10, 2010.

Publication History

Recorded: George Francis Dow, The Holyoke Diaries (1911), facing p. 95 illus., owned by Robert Osgood, mistakenly identified as Jonathan Simpson, Jr. (1750-1834), and attributed to John Singleton Copley.

Lawrence Park, "Joseph Blackburn: Portrait Painter," American Antiquarian Society (October 1922), pp. 315-16 no. 65.

Lawrence Park, Joseph Blackburn, A Colonial Portrait Painter, With a Descriptive List of His Works (1923), no. 65, owned by Robert Osgood.

Theodore Bolton and Henry Lorin Binsse, "An American Artist of Formula: Joseph Blackburn," The Antiquarian XV (November 1930), p. 92, owned by Edward H. Osgood.

Charles Henry Collins Baker, "Notes on Joseph Blackburn and Nathaniel Dance," The Huntington Library Quarterly IX (November 1945), p. 41.

American Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1969), I, p. 34, owned by Edward H. Osgood.


Jonathan Simpson (1711-1795), Boston; to his neice Mary (Vial) Holyoke (1736/9-1802), Salem, Massachusetts; to her husband Dr. Augustus Holyoke Simpson (1728-1829), Salem, Massachusetts; by descent to his daughter, Susanna (Holyoke) Ward (b. 1779), Salem, Massachusetts; by descent to her daughter, Mary Holyoke Ward (1800-1880); [probably] by descent to her brother-in-law, Charles Osgood (1809-1890), Salem, Massachusetts; by descent to his son, Charles Stuart Osgood (1839-1897), Salem, Massachusetts; by descent to his son, Robert Ward Osgood (b. 1870/1), Salem Massachusetts; by descent to his brother, Edward Holyoke Osgood (1882-1952); by descent to his son, Edward Holyoke Osgood (1916-2007), Hamilton, Massachusetts, until 2007; Northeast Auctions, Manchester, New Hampshire Annual Summer Americana Auction, Part 1," lot 1649; sold to Hirschl & Adler Galleries, Inc., New York, New York; sold to present collection, 2007.

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