06-06-2004 06-06-2004
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2242 Boston
June 6, 2004 11:00 AMCalender

Attributed to Gilbert Stuart (England and American 1755-1828) Portrait of Colonel Thomas Dawes (1731-1809)

Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2242 Location: Boston Date / Time: June 06, 2004 11:00AM


Attributed to Gilbert Stuart (England and American 1755-1828)

Portrait of Colonel Thomas Dawes (1731-1809), Boston, c. 1806. Unsigned. Oil on panel. The distinguished gentleman is portrayed seated in a red upholstered gilt chair holding a red and gilt book on Architecture by Palladioin front of red drapery flanked by a classical column, sight size 31 3/4 x 25 3/4 in., in an original gilt leaf carved frame. Condition: Cleaned, minor inpainting and re-varnishing.

Provenance: This portrait descended in the family and was donated by Colonel Thomas Dawes' great great great great granddaughter, Mrs. George A. Matteson, Jr., to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in the 1970s. This institution is now part of the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Note: Colonel Thomas Dawes called "Boston's Patriot Architect," is known to have influenced the important Boston architect, Charles Bulfinch, and is believed to have worked with him on the Old State House in Boston among other important buildings. He was the designer of the 1772 Brattle Street Church now Government Center Plaza. He was an ardent patriot having served as a Colonel in the provincial militia before the revolution. Following the war he served in various important public offices.

The artist of this work, Gilbert Stuart, is considered America's best known portrait painter. His major works include those of George Washington, Benjamin West, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. This portrait bears a textured rather than smooth panel giving the look of a twilled canvas. Gilbert Stuart is known to have favored textured ground for panels. This was accomplished by scoring into the wood.

Literature: The Magazine Antiques, November 1979, "Museum Accessions" by Eleanor H. Gustafson p. 1068, pictures and describes this lot as does Old Time New England Bulletin of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, summer-fall 1977, Thomas Dawes, Boston's Patriot-Architect, by Frederic C. Detwiller, pp.1-18.

Provenance: Deaccessioned from the New Bedford Whaling Museum- Old Dartmouth Historical Society, New Bedford, Massachusetts. Proceeds to benefit the acquisition and conservation fund
Estimate $10,000-15,000


Thomas Dawes, Gilbert Stuart, New Bedford, Colonel, Old Dartmouth Historical Society, Massachusetts, Charles Bulfinch, United Kingdom, red upholstered gilt chair , George A. Matteson , Jr., Old State House in Boston, Old State House, Government Center Plaza, Brattle Street Church, portrait painter , Joshua Reynolds, George Washington, Benjamin West, Museum Accessions, Eleanor H. Gustafson, Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, Patriot-Architect , Frederic C. Detwiller