Zedekiah Belknap (Massachusetts, 1781-1858)
Portrait of Reverend and Mrs. Edmund Mills of Sutton, Massachusetts
Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in., in mahogany veneer frames with corner blocks.
Condition: Unlined, minor inpainting.
Provenance: Descended in the family of the sitters to Grace Mills Jordan; by bequest to Mrs. Jordan's friend Miss Louis Ray; Bob Cleaves; Purchased from Jim Bakker, Boston, Massachusetts, at the Concord Antiques Show, 1977.
Literature: William A. Benedict and Hiram Tracy, History of the Town of Sutton, p. 308, illustrated.
Exhibitions: Reflections of 19th Century America: Folk Art from the Collection of Sybil B. and Arthur B. Kern, Museum of Our National Heritage, Lexington, Massachusetts, September 19, 1979-June 15, 1980.
Note: Reverend Mills graduated with a degree in theology from Yale in 1775, and in 1789 married the widow Abigail Moore and settled in Sutton, where he lived until his death in 1825. According to a friend's comment in the Benedict and Tracy text mentioned above, "the likeness [of Mr. Mills] is not a good one; it represents him bald-headed and inferior... I went fishing with him only a few weeks before his death and thought him one of the noblest men I ever saw... When a small boy, having been told that God made men in his own images, I thought he got the best likeness in George Washington and the next best in Mr. Mills."
Provenance: The Arthur & Sybil Kern Collection of American Folk Art.
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