About This Artwork

John Smibert
American, born Scotland, 1688-1751

Richard Bill, 1733

Oil on canvas
127.6 x 102.2 cm (50 1/4 x 40 1/4 in.)

Friends of American Art Collection, 1944.28

The Scottish-born painter John Smibert studied in London and Italy before settling in Boston in 1728. His skills as a trained formal portraitist were in great demand among the wealthy and powerful colonists in Boston. Richard Bill was a prosperous merchant and politically involved citizen. Smibert depicted him dressed in fashionable costume and standing next to a writing table. A large ship is visible through the window in the background. These details hint at Bill’s success and prestige.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Publication History

Judith A. Barter et al, American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 58-60, no. 9.

John C. Eastberg et al., "Layton's Legacy: A Historic American Art Collection, 1888-2013," exh. cat. (Layton Art Collection, Inc./Milwaukee Art Museum/The University of Wisconsin Press, 2013).

View mobile website