Historical 18th C. American School Oil Painting: Portrait of Benjamin Brown, New England Connecticut Attr. Cephas Thomas
Late 18th Century American School oil on board painting of 'A Very Interesting Gentleman'.
This is a competently executed portrait of Benjamin Brown (New London, Connecticut) in formal dress - a black coat and high collared white shirt typical of the period. He has a pleasing countenance. Notation on the verso indicates: Benjamin Brown 1781-1848 written in pencil. Un-signed canvas.
Attributed to Cephas Thompson (July 1, 1775 – November 6, 1856) who was a successful, largely self-taught, early nineteenth-century itinerant portrait painter in the United States. He was born, died, and lived most of his life in Middleborough, Massachusetts, but traveled extensively down the Atlantic coast and lived far from home for months at a time while pursuing his career as a portraitist. This appears to be exactly the same area and time frame as for Benjamin Brown.
Brown appears on Ancestry and was by all accounts a very wealthy gent! See photographs of his last will and testament and other links (later on) to the house he lived in that exists till today.
Original deep old gold period frame held in place with old nails. The condition of the painting is good with no losses, the deep and heavy frame has some age appropriate craquelure which overall enhances this very old piece of art which would look excellent in a library or formal room.
W31", H36.5", D2.75".
Gesso frame has been stabilised with varnish or similar.
Benjamin Brown was a prominent figure in the whaling industry and he also had a slaughter house and candle factory. He cured beef and pork and shipped it in barrels.
After buying the Canada House in Tilley Street he bought considerably more land adjoining ion the west bounds. On this vacant land he used to store hundreds of barrels of oil while waiting for the market to advance. Benjamin Brown was a native of Waterford and came to New London a poor and friendless boy. The building connected with his enterprises once occupied the site of the coal ad lumber business of the F.H. & A.H. Chappell Co. in Bank street. His stone house alone remains on the east side of Bank street, opposite Tilley and is listed as a historical place of interest..