Portrait of Elijah Boardman
Images of People
Oil on canvas
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New Milford, CT
83" x 51"
Earl portrayed the richly dressed dry-goods merchant Elijah Boardman (1760–1823) in his store in New Milford, Connecticut. His right hand rests on a counting desk protected by green cloth secured with brass nails. The books on the shelves include the three-volume set of Dr. John Moore's Travels, two volumes of Shakespeare's plays, John Milton's Paradise Lost, a volume of Samuel Johnson's dictionary, and the London Magazine for 1786. Through the open paneled door to the right, bolts of plain and patterned textiles, including one with a prominently displayed British tax stamp, invite inspection and tell the viewer how Boardman earned a living, just as the books in his desk and the letter in his hand speak of his learning and cultivation.
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