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date: 12 December 2019

Badger, Josephlocked

(b Charlestown, MA, March 14, 1708; d Boston, MA, May 11, 1755).
  • Richard C. Nylander

Extract

(b Charlestown, MA, March 14, 1708; d Boston, MA, May 11, 1755).

American painter. Badger was part of a small, active group of portrait painters who worked in Boston in the mid-18th century. Although he was well known in his own time, his work was rediscovered only in the early 20th century. Badger appears to have been a competent artisan with some artistic talent. The few documents that deal with his early life refer to him as a ‘painter’ and ‘glazier’, indicating that his primary profession was house and ship painting. He is described as a ‘limner’ and ‘faice painter’ only towards the end of his life. Badger moved to Boston around 1733 and began painting portraits about ten years later. He became Boston’s principal portrait painter after the death of John Smibert in 1751, but his career was eclipsed shortly thereafter by the more accomplished and stylish portraits of John Singleton Copley. Unlike other Colonial artists, Badger was not an itinerant painter: most of his subjects lived in Boston, and many were related or attended the same church. He painted likenesses of three of his children and one grandchild (...

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