Joseph E. Badger (1708-1765)

Born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, Joseph Badger worked as a house painter and made signs and other decorative paintings in addition to painting portraits. Despite his lack of formal training, he painted members of quite prominent families.  Since Badger didn’t advertise, we can assume his popularity came via referrals from satisfied customers (and the relatively small number of portrait painters in Boston at the time).  For a few years following the death of John Smibert (in 1751) and before the arrival of portrait artist Joseph Blackburn from London (in 1755) Badger was virtually the only portrait painter in Boston. 

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More than one hundred and fifty portraits by Badger exist today. None are signed, but show his distinct style.  This portrait of the child Elizabeth Gould is typical of Badger’s poses of small girls:  she is standing and holding a small animal in her hand, in this case a bird on her forefinger.  

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