John Singleton Copley

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John Singleton Copley

Birthplace: Boston, MA, United States
Death: September 09, 1815 (77)
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
Place of Burial: Highgate Cemetery (East) Highgate London Borough of Camden Greater London, England
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Copley and Mary Sarah Copley
Husband of Susannah Farnum Copley
Father of Elizabeth Clarke Greene and John Copley, 1st Baron Lyndhurst
Half brother of Henry Pelham

Managed by: Ned Reynolds
Last Updated:

About John Singleton Copley

(portrait by Gilbert Stuart)

John Singleton Copley (1738[1] – 1815) was an American painter, born presumably in Boston, Massachusetts, and a son of Richard and Mary Singleton Copley, both Irish. He is famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England, depicting in particular middle-class subjects. His paintings were innovative in their tendency to depict artifacts relating to these individuals' lives.

  • NameSake of the COPLEY MEDAILLE of the BRITTisch ROYAL SOCIETY.. see also
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----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Birth: Jul. 3, 1738 Boston Suffolk County Massachusetts, USA Death: Sep. 9, 1815 London Greater London, England

American Artist. Copley was born on July 3, 1738, in Bostonto Irish immigrant parents Mary Singleton and Richard Copley. He began to paint in about 1753. He made use of the rococo device called portrait d'apparat, portraying the subject with objects associated with his daily life, that gave his work a distinction not usually found in 18th-century American painting. His style was straightforward and realistic. Among his many works were portraits of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and John Adams. In 1769 John Copley married Susanna Clarke, the daughter of a Boston tea merchant. They would have six children. Her family's politics, however, and his desire to expand his art led to their departure from America. The Copleys traveled to Europe in 1774 and settled in London. There in 1778 Copley painted his first major work, Watson and the Shark, depicting a real-life event that occurred in Havana harbor. The painting portrays Brook Watson, a friend of the painter, who, as a boy, lost his leg to a shark while his friends struggled to rescue him in the water. Copley's powerful paintings brought him fame, but much to his disappointment, not great monetary rewards. After 1790 his health, productivity, and reputation began to decline. On August 11, 1815, John Singleton Copley suffered a stroke during dinner and died four weeks later on September 9, 1815. (bio by: Iola)

Burial: Highgate Cemetery (East) Highgate London Borough of Camden Greater London, England

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Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001 Find A Grave Memorial# 2607


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John Singleton Copley's Timeline

July 3, 1738
Boston, MA, United States
November 1770
Boston, Suffolk County, Province of Massachusetts
May 21, 1772
Boston, Suffolk Co., MA
September 9, 1815
Age 77
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
September 9, 1815
Age 77
Highgate Cemetery (East) Highgate London Borough of Camden Greater London, England