Although most colonial artists traveled to find patrons, Winthrop Chandler centered his career around his native Woodstock, Connecticut. At first, he called himself a "painter," and several of his surviving works are decorative landscapes to adorn the paneling over mantelpieces. By the later 1780s, though, Winthrop Chandler referred to his profession as that of "limner," implying that he now primarily made portraits.
Captain Samuel Chandler depicts the artist's brother, a tavern keeper and a member of the Connecticut militia during the Revolutionary War. A battle between Red Coats and colonials can be seen through the open window. Wearing his captain's uniform, Samuel proudly displays a sword with silver hilt and scabbard. His military tricorn hat rests on a mahogany drop-leaf table which serves to indicate his civilian wealth.
The careful delineation of these objects gives them an importance almost equal to the forthright portrayal of the captain's stern countenance. As with many essentially self-taught artists, Winthrop Chandler compensated for his lack of expertise in anatomy and perspective by creating superbly integrated designs. The repeated ranks of horsemen in the landscape, for instance, form patterns that effectively reiterate the uniform's rows of buttons; and the rippling curves of cuffs, cravat, and tricorn hat play against the straight lines of sword, furniture legs, and window frame.
More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication American Naive Paintings, pages 63-64, which is available as a free PDF https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/American%20Naive%20Painting.pdf
Captain Winthrop Chandler, Woodstock, Connecticut; by inheritance to John Paine, nephew of Mrs. Samuel Chandler; his son, John Paine, Jr.; his son, John Merrick Paine; his son, Dr. Robert Child Paine, Thompson, Connecticut; his widow, Mrs. Robert Child Paine; her children, Mrs. Prudence Paine Kwiecien, Hamilton Child Paine, and Agnes C. Paine, Thompson, Connecticut, who lent it to the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, from 2 June 1947 to 7 November 1955; purchased 1955 by Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch; gift 1964 to NGA.
- Eighty Eminent Painters of Connecticut, Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Connecticut, 1947, no. 5.
- Winthrop Chandler, Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, 1947, no. 13.
- American Primitive Paintings from the Collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Part II, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1957, no. 20.
- Art Our Children Live With, Downtown Gallery, New York, 1957, no. 6.
- American Folk Art. Part of American Art. Four Exhibitions, Brussels Universal and International Exhibition, Belgium, 1958, no. 49, 37.
- 101 Masterpieces of American Primitive Painting from the Collection of E.W. and B.C. Garbisch, traveling exh. by the Amer. Federation of Arts, New York, 1961-1964, no. 20, color repro. First venue: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y.
- Art of the United States: 1670-1966, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1966, no. 43.
- Fifty Masterpieces of American Primitive Painting from the Collection of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida, 1967, no cat.
- American Naive Painting of the 18th and 19th Centuries: 111 Masterpieces from the Collection of E.W. and B.C. Garbisch, traveling exh. by Amer. Fed. of Arts, N.Y., 1968-1970, no. 14, repro. First venue: Grand Palais, Paris.
- American Naive Painting of the 18th and 19th Centuries: Masterpieces from the Collection of E.W. and B.C. Garbisch, organized by the Amer. Fed. of Arts, N.Y., and Mainichi News., Nihobashi Mitsukoshi, Tokyo, 1970, no cat.
- The New World: 1620-1970, Chrysler Art Museum, Provincetown, Massachusetts, 1970, no. 4.
- The Flowering of American Folk Art 1776-1876, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; The M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1974, no. 2, repro. (cat. by Jean Lipman and Alice Winchester).
- The Face of Liberty: Founders of the United States, Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Fort Worth, Texas, 1975-1976, 118, color pl. 24, (cat. by James Thomas Flexner).
- Paintings by New England Provincial Artists: 1775-1800, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1976, no. 29 (cat. by Nina Fletcher Little).
- American Folk Painters of Three Centuries, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1980, 29-30, color repro. (cat. edited by Jean Lipman and Thomas Armstrong).
- American Naive Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois, 1981-1982, no. 20, color repro. (cat. by Ronald McKnight Melvin).
- American Naive Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, Exh. cat. Travelling exh. by the International Exhibitions Foundation, Washington, 1985-1987, no. 20, color repro. First venue: Museum of American Folk Art, New York.
- La Nascita di Una Nazione: Pittori americani dalla National Gallery of Art di Washington 1730-1880, Palazzo Pepoli Campogrande, Bologna; Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna di Ca'Pesaro, Venice, 1988-1989, no. 20, repro.
- Five Star Folk Art, Museum of American Folk Art, New York, 1990, no. 5, repro., fig. 5.
- Loan for display with permanent collection, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, 1995-1996.
- Flexner, James Thomas. "Winthrop Chandler: An Eighteenth-Century Artisan Painter." Magazine of Art 40 (November 1947): 274, 275, 278.
- Little, Nina Fletcher. "Winthrop Chandler, Limner of Windham County, Connecticut." Art in America 35 (April 1947): 84, 90, 112-113, 162.
- Sawitzky, Susan. "Portraits by Reuben Moulthrop." New-York Historical Society Quarterly 39 (October): 386, 389, 391-393.
- Black, Mary, and Jean Lipman. American Folk Painting. New York, 1966: 19.
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:386, color repro.
- Sadik, Marvin. Christian Gullager: Portrait Painter to Federal America. Washington, 1967: 16-17.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 40, repro.
- Frankenstein, Alfred. The World of Copley. New York, 1970: 94-95.
- Mendelowitz, Daniel M. A History of American Art. 2nd ed. New York, 1970: 118.
- Dorner, Jane. Fashion: The Changing Shape of Fashion through the Years. London, 1974: 104.
- Franc, Helen M., and Jean Lipman. Bright Stars: American Painting and Sculpture Since 1776. New York, 1976: 33.
- Andrews, Ruth, ed. How to Know American Folk Art. New York, 1977: 91-92.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 129, repro.
- Little, Nina Fletcher. Neat and Tidy: Boxes and Their Contents Used in Early American Households. New York, 1980: 94-96.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: no. 12, color repro.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 387, no. 551, color repro.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. Rev. ed. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988: 72, no. 13, color repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 140, repro.
- Chotner, Deborah, with contributions by Julie Aronson, Sarah D. Cash, and Laurie Weitzenkorn. American Naive Paintings. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1992: 63-64, color repro. 66.
- National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 213, repro.