Artist
John Singleton Copley
American-born painter

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John Singleton Copley
American-born painter
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Birth Date

1738

Death Date

1815

ldewey's picture

Contributor

John Singleton Copley didn’t exactly come from artistic ilk.

His parents immigrated to colonial Boston from Ireland to run a tobacco shop on Long Wharf. Soon after arriving in America, Copley’s father had a bout of ill health and took a trip to the West Indies for some fresh air. Unfortunately for Copley, his poor old dad met an untimely end there. But fortunately for us, Copley’s stepdad was a noted painter and engraver and passed on some of his creative talent and a well-rounded academic education to little Johnny.

By all accounts, John Copley was a bit of a wet blanket. He was decidedly unadventurous and inclined to wallow in self pity. He once referred to himself as “desirous of avoiding every imputation of party spirit” and his Wiki suggests that hw was "physically unadventurous and temperamentally inclined toward brooding and self-pity." What a fun guy...

Despite his brooding nature, Copley made a pretty penny from his portraits, bought a fancy house in the nicest part of Boston, dressed like a true aristocrat, and managed to score a hot wife who reared his six children. 

Copley’s father-in-law owned the tea that was dumped into the Boston Harbor during the infamous Boston Tea party. According to Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins, this rendered the tea "unsuitable for drinking, even to Americans." Copley, as Boston’s resident wuss, was sufficiently afraid of the chaos of the American battle for independence that he decided to pick up and move his family back to England. He remained there until he died of a stroke at age 77.

 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about John Singleton Copley

John Singleton CopleyRA (1738 – September 9, 1815) was an Anglo-American painter, active in both colonial America and England. He was probably born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Richard and Mary Singleton Copley, both Anglo-Irish. He is famous for his portrait paintings of wealthy and influential figures in colonial New England, depicting in particular middle-class subjects. His portraits were innovative in their tendency to depict artifacts relating to these individuals' lives.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about John Singleton Copley.