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Patricia Johnston

Society founded in 1799 in Salem, MA, which organized one of the earliest museums in America and became a patron for commissioning art. Marine societies founded in port cities during the colonial and federal periods usually provided charitable assistance to indigent seamen or widows and orphans. The East India Marine Society (EIMS) had further ambitions. British colonial navigation laws had restricted legal American trade to the Atlantic basin; after the Revolution, opening global trade became a primary goal of American commerce. The EIMS recognized those Salem mariners who embarked on global trade, since membership was restricted to “Masters or Commanders of Vessels” or supercargoes (head traders) who rounded Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope to engage in Pacific or Asian trade....

Article

Shearer West

Scottish physician, patron, collector and museum founder. His father intended him for the Church, but Hunter’s desire to practise medicine took him in 1741 to London, where he was assistant to Dr James Douglas. From 1746 he gave public lectures on anatomy. He obtained his licence from the Royal College of Physicians in ...

Article

David Mannings

English painter, collector and writer. The foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, he transformed early Georgian portraiture by greatly enlarging its range. His poses, frequently based on the Old Masters or antique sculpture, were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters. His rich colour, strong lighting and free handling of paint greatly influenced the generation of Thomas Lawrence and Henry Raeburn. His history and fancy pictures explored dramatic and emotional themes that became increasingly popular with both artists and collectors in the Romantic period. As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he did more than anyone to raise the status of art and artists in Britain. His ...

Article

Ilaria Bignamini

English drawing-master. The son of a stationer, he began his career as a painter and drawing-master at Northampton. He developed his ideas for art premiums in part from similar awards introduced at the time at local horse fairs and races; eventually this led to Shipley’s publication of two pamphlets, the ...