Joseph Badger, the son of a tailor, was born in 1708 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. He married Katharine Felch in 1731; they moved about two years later to nearby Boston, where Badger, apparently self-taught, spent his entire painting career. He began as a house painter, glazier, and painter of signs and heraldic devices. His earliest portraits date from about 1740. His known work numbers around one hundred and fifty portraits. He was particularly successful in the late 1740's and early 1750's, after the retirement of John Smibert. Some of his compositions show the direct influence of Smibert, whose color shop was near Badger's home. His conservative style was eclipsed in the mid 1750's by the work of two younger artists, Joseph Blackburn and John Singleton Copley. Badger died in Boston in 1765. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
Nylander, Richard C. "Joseph Badger, American Portrait Painter" (Master's thesis, State University of New York at Oneonta, 1972).
Warren, Phelps. "Badger Family Portraits." Antiques 118 (November 1980): 1044-1045.
Saunders and Miles 1987, 190-191.
Miles, Ellen G. American Paintings of the Eighteenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1995: 3.