John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) was born in Boston and trained in the visual arts under his stepfather Peter Pelham, an English engraver who had immigrated in 1727 and married Copley's widowed mother in 1748. Copley's earliest paintings, from the mid-1750s, reveal the influence of English mezzotint portraits as well as the work of local and itinerant artists. He experimented with various media: oil on canvas, miniatures on copper or ivory, pastel, and printmaking. By the late 1750s he was established as a portrait painter.

John Singleton Copley, The Copley Family (detail of the artist), 1776/77. National Gallery of Art, Andrew W. Mellon Fund, 1961.7.1

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