(b Edinburgh, 24 Mar. 1688; d Boston, 2 Apr. 1751). Scottish-born portrait painter who emigrated to America in 1728 and settled in Boston in 1730. Before this he had travelled in Italy and practised successfully in London in an uninspired style derived from Kneller. After he settled in America his work became somewhat more vigorous. He brought with him a small collection of copies, casts, and prints, and he opened a shop in Boston where he sold artists' materials and engravings of the works of well-known artists. His collection was displayed above the shop, forming in effect America's first art gallery, and together with his own paintings it became the cornerstone of the New England Colonial portrait style. Copley and Trumbull were among the artists familiar with the collection.
Text source: The Oxford Dictionary of Art and Artists (Oxford University Press)