Portrait of Miles Sherbrook

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John Singleton Copley
Portrait of Miles Sherbrook, 1771
Oil on canvas
80.219

During the two decades preceding the American Revolution, John Singleton Copley emerged in Boston as the most distinguished of Colonial artists. His many portraits of influential New Englanders were remarkable for their craftsmanlike polish and clarity of design. With them he captured the simple strength and moral idealism of the emerging American republic.

In 1771, Copley briefly interrupted his busy Boston portrait practice to visit New York, where he painted some of city's most important citizens. Among them was Miles Sherbrook, a partner in a London-based import firm, who is portrayed as an unpretentious, forthright business man.