03-01-2015 03-01-2015
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2786B Boston
March 1, 2015 10:00AMCalender

Benjamin Greenleaf (act. Massachusetts/New Hampshire, 1769-1821) Portrait of Alexander Wadsworth, Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Auction: American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2786B Location: Boston Date / Time: March 01, 2015 10:00AM


Benjamin Greenleaf (act. Massachusetts/New Hampshire, 1769-1821)

Portrait of Alexander Wadsworth, Duxbury, Massachusetts. Unsigned. Oil reverse-painted on glass, the blue-eyed boy wears a white ruffled collar, on a green-blue background, 13 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (sight), in original black-painted and molded parcel-gilt frame. Condition: Minor losses.

Note: A pencil inscription on the backboard reads: "F.G.F. [Frances Grey Ford] Wadsworth, Alexander's son."

According to a typed transcription of a history written by Louisa Wadsworth (his granddaughter), Alexander Wadsworth (1808-1900) was born in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Sometime after the late 1820s, he became captain of the brig Favorite of Duxbury, owned by Draper and Weston, so beginning a long career as a seaman. He captained the packet ship New Jersey of the Black Cross Line; the Mattakeesett which ran in the cotton trade; the ship Manteo of Halifax; and the Seth Sprague, a 610-ton vessel which was fitted to sail to San Francisco in 1852. In San Francisco, his crew deserted to the gold mines in search of fortune. From San Francisco, with a "crew of beachcombers and broken down miners and a couple of homesick Duxbury men," the Seth Sprague sailed to Honolulu on its way to Calcutta, a frequent destination. His last ship was the William Wirt, which ran from New Orleans to Liverpool in the cotton trade. In 1860, he retired to his hometown of Duxbury. According to Louisa's letter, Alexander always claimed "that in all his trips to all the ports at which American ships called he had never seen a place that suited him as well as Duxbury."
Estimate $8,000-12,000

losses to the pigment in the collar, evidence of minor retouch to spots in background.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


Alexander Wadsworth, Duxbury, Massachusetts, Louisa Wadsworth, Seth Sprague, New Hampshire, Benjamin Greenleaf, Frances Grey Ford, Weston, Draper, Halifax, William Wirt, Honolulu, Calcutta, New Orleans