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Portrait of Thomas Clay (1753 - 1793)

John Hesselius, American, 1728 - 1778

Made in United States, North and Central America


Oil on canvas

28 x 23 inches (71.1 x 58.4 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

* Gallery 204, American Art, second floor (Sherrerd Gallery)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the McNeil Americana Collection, 2009

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John Hesselius was born in Philadelphia and received his artistic training from his father, Gustavus Hesselius, who emigrated from Sweden to the United States. Influenced by the work of American painter Robert Feke and London-trained portraitist John Wollaston, the younger Hesselius painted the elite of Philadelphia, Delaware, and Virginia before eventually settling in Maryland, where he briefly taught the then-fledgling artist Charles Willson Peale. This stylish portrait of Thomas Clay (1753–1793), shown with his bow and arrow, is an excellent example of the artist’s colorful, mature style.

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