About This Artwork

John Singleton Copley
American, 1738-1815

Henry Hill, c. 1765/70

Pastel on brown paper laid down on canvas, linen or board
61 x 45.7 cm (24 x 18 in.; 580 x 433 mm); 580 x 433 mm (sight)

Roger and J. Peter McCormick Endowments; restricted gift of William C. Vance from the Vance Family Foundation; Maurice D. Galleher Endowment and General Acquisitions funds, 2006.83

In 2006 the Art Institute of Chicago was lucky enough to acquire John Singleton Copley’s pastel Henry Hill, the companion to Mrs. Henry Hill (Anna Barrett), which has been in the collection since 1959. Both pastels retain their original rococo-style frames; these may have been carved by the Boston craftsman John Welch. Welch created many of Copley’s rococo frames, the type the artist used most frequently for his American portraits. The frame on Mrs. Henry Hill was gilded, as this was generally appropriate for the rococo style; however, recent scholarship has revealed that a few Copley frames, like that of Henry Hill, were painted black. Thus, these portraits present two different ways that Copley’s frames might have been finished.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Publication History

Annual Report (Art Institute of Chicago, 2005-2006), p. 22.

Augustus Thorndike Perkins, A Sketch of the Life and a List of Some of the Works of John Singleton Copley (Boston, Osgood, 1873), p. 72.

Frank W. Bayley, The Life and Works of John Singleton Copley (Boston, Garden Press, 1910), p. 51.

Frank W. Bayley, The Life and Works of John Singleton Copley: Founded on the Work of Augustus Thorndike Perkins (Boston, Taylor Press, 1915), p. 142.

Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley in America, 1738–1774 (National Gallery of Art/ Harvard University Press, 1966), p. 67, fig. 242.

Ownership History

Henry and Anna Hill, Boston; by descent to their nephew, Thomas Hill, Boston, after 1828; Mrs. Todd, Cambridge, Mass., by 1873; by descent in the Hill family to W. Eliot Fette, Cambridge, Mass., before 1938; by descent to his daughter, Margaret Atherton Noyes, Cambridge, Mass., 1938; by descent to her son, Eliot Fette Noyes, New Canaan, Conn.; bequeathed to his wife, Mrs. Eliot Fette Noyes, New Canaan, Conn., to 2006; The Art Institute of Chicago, 2006.

Interpretive Resources

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