About this artwork
John Singleton Copley was largely self-taught, his only formal training from his stepfather Peter Pelham, an English artist who specialized in mezzotint engraving. He nonetheless garnered considerable success as a portrait painter before the Revolutionary War. The sitter here, Mary Greene Hubbard, was a member of Boston’s merchant class (Copley’s portrait of her husband, Daniel Hubbard [1947.27], is also in the Art Institute collection). Her pose, gown, and background were precisely copied from a British engraving of a noblewoman, yet Copley distinguished the work as his own by capturing the figure’s individual features as well as the surfaces and colors of the luxurious fabrics. A decade later, he left colonial Massachusetts for England to further his career and simultaneously escape the strong political divides among family, friends, and patrons amid the impending Revolution.
- John Singleton Copley
- Mrs. Daniel Hubbard (Mary Greene)
- c. 1764
- Oil on canvas
- 127.6 × 100.9 cm (50 1/4 × 39 3/4 in.)
- Art Institute of Chicago Purchase Fund