Shelburne Museum has acquired a portrait by John Singleton Copley entitled Mrs. John Scollay (Mercy Greenleaf), a pendant painting to the portrait in the museums permanent collection, Mr. John Scollay, reuniting the long-separated portraits of wife and husband, Shelburne Museum Director Thomas Denenberg announced.
John Scollay, a chairman of the Boston Board of Selectmen and member of the Sons of Liberty, commissioned Copley (1738-1815), the preeminent portraiture artist in the American colonies, for this portrait of his wife as a pendant to his own portrait. Completed in 1763, Mrs. Scollays portrait demonstrates Copleys talents and abilities as a painter as evidenced through the beautifully rendered fabric draped around the sitter.
Shelburne Museum founder Electra Havemeyer Webb assembled the American paintings collection with the intention of juxtaposing well-known artists such as Copley with lesser-known itinerant or folk painters. She purchased the portrait of John Scollay from Harry Shaw Newman at the Old Print Shop in New York City in 1959. The Museums extensive collection of American paintings tell a story about how the fine arts developed and came of age in the United States, and the reunion of these pendants continues to enrich the narrative.
The museum is presenting a webinar on the new acquisition and the story of how these two paintings were reunited. Denenberg will discuss the intriguing circumstances that led to the reunion of the long-separated couple. The evening will be a tale of revolutionary Boston, featuring the young John Singleton Copley and his portraits of Mercy Greenleaf and John Scollay. Live Q&A follows the presentation. Together Again: A New Acquisition Reunites a Pair of Copley Portraits is at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17. To register visit the museums website, shelburnemuseum.org