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Rufus Hathaway (1770 - 1822)

Lot 674: *RUFUS HATHAWAY (1770-1822)


January 18, 2002
New York, NY, US

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PORTRAITS OF JOSHUA AND RUTH WINSOR oil on canvas Rufus Hathaway was born on May 2, 1770, in Freetown, near Fall River, Massachusetts, and is known to have worked in Bristol, Rhode Island, and in Taunton and Duxbury, Massachusetts. Hathaway was drawn to the prosperous shipbuilding community of Duxbury on Plymouth Bay by collateral relatives and by the lure of portrait commissions. By 1793 he had completed at least ten portraits there. In 1953, Art in America devoted an entire issue to Nina Fletcher Little's work on these highly stylized portraits; by 1987 twenty portraits by Hathaway, commissions obtained mostly through family connections, had been identified, including this pair, which were then exhibited at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury. Hathaway married Judith Winsor, the subject of -ne of his portraits, on December 10, 1795. His father in-law, Joshua Winsor, one of the wealthiest and most prominent citizens of Duxbury, frowned on painting as a means of supporting a family and urged his son-in-law to study medicine with Dr. Isaac Winslow of Marshfield. Hence the artist became a respected physician in Duxbury. Hathaway died in 1822, and is buried in the Mayflower Cemetery there.


Peter H. Tillou, Litchfield, Connecticut Vose Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts

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