Portrait of Captain John Pigott

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Portrait of Captain John Pigott

United States, circa 1752
Paintings
Oil on canvas
Canvas: 50 × 40 in. (127 × 101.6 cm) Frame: 58 × 48 1/4 × 4 in. (147.32 × 122.56 × 10.16 cm)
Purchased with funds provided by the American Art Council in honor of the Museum's twenty-fifth anniversary (M.90.210.1)
Currently on public view:
Art of the Americas Building, floor 3 MAP IT
Art of the Americas Building, floor 3

Since gallery displays may change often, please contact us before you visit to make certain this item is on view.

About The Era

Although the thirteen colonies that would constitute the United States of America were founded by several different nations, by 1763 (the end of the French and Indian Wars), the British controlled mos...
Although the thirteen colonies that would constitute the United States of America were founded by several different nations, by 1763 (the end of the French and Indian Wars), the British controlled most of North America from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. In many respects the American colonies functioned like an English province. Culturally they were largely British; from interior design and dress to painted portraits, wealthy colonists emulated the London fashions of the period. However, there was often a time lag, as examples of the finest British furniture, household goods, and decorative items such as paintings had to be transported across the ocean.

At first the only trained artists and artisans in the colonies were emigrants from London who thought fame would be easier to achieve in the less competitive atmosphere of Boston or Philadelphia. By the end of the eighteenth century, this traffic had reversed somewhat, as American artists went to London for their training. Portraits were the most popular genre, since British citizens everywhere wanted visual records of their families and heroes. Historical and literary subjects, such as those by Benjamin West, were usually only painted in London; their appreciation required a more educated audience than was the case with many colonists. The pervasive influence of Britain would continue to affect the development of culture in the United States long after the Revolutionary War had severed the Crown’s political authority.
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Label

Here John Pigott is posed before a depiction of the harbor of Hamilton, the two sloops alluding to his position as customs collector....
Here John Pigott is posed before a depiction of the harbor of Hamilton, the two sloops alluding to his position as customs collector. Inwood, the large home of his father-in-law, sits on the distant shore. The wealth and social position of the Pigotts are indicated by the existence of these two large portraits as well as by the attire in which the couple is depicted. John Pigott’s somber brown coat has rich accessories – ruffled lace shirt cuffs and a magnificent white satin waistcoat embroidered in gold and silver. Fannie Pigott wears pearls and an elegant silver satin gown accompanied by a gauzy pink-and-white plaid silk shawl. The delineation of such luxurious materials was Blackburn’s specialty and demonstrated his training with in the English rococo aesthetic.
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Bibliography

  • About the Era. LACMA collections online. Retrieved on 12/30/2009 from http://collectionsonline.lacma.org/mweb/aa/abouttheera/early_american_paintings_abouttheera.asp
  • LACMA: Obras Maestras 1750-1950: Pintura Estadounidense Del Museo De Arte Del Condado De Los Angeles. Mexico, D.F.: Museo Nacional de Arte, 2006.