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Image of Portrait of Thomas Wentworth

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Portrait of Thomas Wentworth

Joseph Blackburn (AKA Jonathan Blackburn), American (born Britain), (ca. 1730–1778)

Creation date: 1761
Creation place: United States

Other Information

Type: Oil Painting
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. John Sheafe Douglas
Accession Number: 1957.12
State/Province: New Hampshire
Dimensions: 50 5/8 in. x 40 5/8 in. (128.59 cm x 103.19 cm)
Currently on view


Mrs. John Sheafe Douglas, Coronado, California ( - 1957)

Abby Pickering, Portsmouth, New Hampshire ( - 1872)

John Sheafe Douglas, Coronado, California ( - )

Thomas Wentworth, Portsmouth, New Hampshire (1761 - 1764)

Mary Hale Sheafe Douglas, Portsmouth, New Hampshire (1872 - )

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (1957 - )

Label Copy

Colonial portrait painters were often commissioned to create a likeness as a way of promoting a subject’s power and wealth. Joseph Blackburn trained in England before traveling in 1752 to Bermuda, where he painted portraits for two years. By 1755, he had settled in Boston and became a prominent colonial portrait painter. Thomas Wentworth (1740–1768), depicted here by Blackburn in fashionable dress, was a graduate of Harvard College who found work as a merchant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He is not portrayed in a luxurious environment or in an overly ornate costume, but his gray suit is stylish and accented with prominent matching buttons and delicate lacework. The representation of his flushed cheeks draw attention to his face, and the position of his right arm on his hip expresses pride and regality. This painting is a poignant testament to Wentworth, who died prematurely at the age of twenty-eight.

Last Updated: 7/22/2021


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Permanent Collection exhibit , 00/00/00 - 4/26/1982

The Life and Times of John Singleton Copley , 2/5/1985 - 3/14/1985

Art in the USA: 300 Años de Innovación Museo Guggenheim Bilbao , 10/11/2007 - 4/27/2008

Behold, America! Art of the United States from Three San Diego Museums The San Diego Museum of Art , 11/10/2012 - 2/10/2013

Modern and Contemporary , 12/21/2013 - 00/00/00

Art of the Americas San Diego Museum of Art , 12/23/2013 - 00/00/00


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Mr. Martin E. Petersen. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1993
Page Number: 149, 152, 153, Figure Number: 153

The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego Catalogue: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1960
Page Number: 3, Figure Number: 3

Mr. D. Scott Atkinson. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 158, Figure Number: 158

Ms. Nancy Mowll Mathews. Art in the USA: 978-84-95216-53-3. Guggenhiem, 2008
Page Number: 56, Figure Number: 56


Signature, Lower left:

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