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Abigail Chesebrough (Mrs. Alexander Grant)

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Joseph Blackburn
English, active in British colonies in North America and Bermuda 1752–64

About this artwork

Dressed in imported luxurious fabrics and accessories, 20-year-old Abigail Chesebrough displays the material wealth of her family in Newport, Rhode Island, in this portrait by Joseph Blackburn. Her father, David Chesebrough, was a merchant and an enslaver, amassing his fortune through the triangular trade of people of color, molasses, and rum between Western Africa, the Caribbean, and New England.

Blackburn shaped his career around the Atlantic trade networks developed in the 18th century. Probably trained in London, he traveled to Bermuda in 1752, securing commissions there. Two years later he was in Newport, where he painted Abigail as well as her stepmother. Blackburn moved on to paint portraits in Boston and Portsmouth before returning to England in 1764.


On View, Gallery 166


Arts of the Americas


Joseph Blackburn


Abigail Chesebrough (Mrs. Alexander Grant)


Newport (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed on bottom of window at right: "I Blackburn Pinxt 1754"


127.6 × 101.5 cm (50 × 40 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Miss Amelia Peabody

Reference Number


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