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John Singleton Copley

1 of 5 portraits of John Singleton Copley

John Singleton Copley

by Gilbert Stuart
oil on canvas, circa 1784
26 1/2 in. x 22 1/4 in. (673 mm x 565 mm)
Bequeathed by Lady Lyndhurst, 1927
Primary Collection
NPG 2143


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  • Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), Painter. Artist associated with 60 portraits.

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Described by Copley's son, Lord Lyndhurst, as the 'best and most agreeable likeness of [my father] ever produced', this oval portrait of the artist by the American-born painter, Gilbert Stuart was commissioned by the publisher, Josiah Boydell in 1783. The portrait was destined for Boydell's new gallery at 90 Cheapside in the City of London. There it was displayed with another fourteen portraits of contemporary painters and engravers connected with Boydell's firm.

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Events of 1784back to top

Current affairs

Theatre proprietor and postal reformer John Palmer runs the first mail coach in England, between Bristol and London. A three day journey is now completed in 16 hours.
Commutation Act reduces punitive duties on tea to combat smuggling.

Art and science

Aeronaut James Sadler makes the first hot air balloon flight in Britain, from Oxford to Woodeaton.
Chemist Henry Cavendish's paper Experiments on Air reveals the composition of water.
Writer Samuel Johnson dies.
Joshua Reynolds succeeds Allan Ramsay as Painter to the King.

International

Thomas Jefferson's Land Ordinance passed by the United States' Continental Congress, coming into effect the following year. It allows for the sale of land in the largely unmapped west of the country.
Britain receives its first bales of cotton from the United States since before the War of American Independence.
William Pitt's India Act creates a Board of Control to oversee the affairs of the British East India Company and centralise power.

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