Prince Demah, Portrait Painter - Presented at History Camp 2015 in Boston

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  • Prince Demah, Portrait Painter

    Paula Bagger Hingham Historical Society

    Presented at History Camp in Boston on March 28, 2015

  • Portraits of Henry and Christian (Arbuthnot) Barnes Old Ordinary, Hingham

  • Susan Barker Willard (1850-1926) Founding member, Hingham Historical Society

  • Mrs. Henry Barnes, nee Christian Goldthwait. This portrait painted by Copley. She was a Loyalist and Tory. She was a niece or cousin of Miss Deborah Barker, through whom this portrait and her husbands descended to me. Also the correspondence written from Bristol in England to her Barker cousins in Hingham . . .

    Henry and Christian (Arbuthnot) Barnes Oil Portraits by Prince Demah

    Old Ordinary, Hingham

  • Christian Barnes correspondence at Library of Congress, Massachusetts Historical Society, and

    Hingham Historical Society

  • Letter from Daphney to Christian Barnes, May 13, 1787 Hingham Historical Society

  • Portrait of William DuGuid Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • W.D. Aetatis sui 26 1773. Prince Demah Barnes Sculpt-- Pinxit Febry 1773

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art

    Portrait of William DuGuid (February 1773)

  • Baptismal records, Trinity Church, Boston May 23, 1745

    Dafney an adult & Prince, negroes

    Records of Trinity Church, Boston, Massachusetts Historical Society

  • C. Hudson, History of the Town of Marlborough (1862)

    The Barnes Household, Marlborough, Massachuse4s The Barnes Estate Marlborough, Massachuse4s

  • Henry Barnes purchases Prince (Dec. 1769)

    Mr. Barnes has late made a purchase of Prince not solely with a view of drawing my picture but I believe he has some design of improving his genius in painting and as soon as procured some materials you shall have a sample of his performance. Daphney appears to be much better reconciled to a state of slavery by her sons arrival. Upon the whole I do not believe there is a happier set of Negros in any kitchen in the Province, and so much for my domesticks of the lower order.

    Christian Barnes to Elizabeth Smith (Dec. 23, 1769)

  • Prince in Marlborough, 1769-1770

    My hospital is a snug, warm chamber where I am seated before a good fire with Caty on one side of me dealing out her sentimentals, Chrisy on the other side entertaining me with her innocent prattle. Prince is fixed in one corner of the room improving himself in the art of painting and every two or three hours Mr. Barnes enters with his cheerful countenances and make us all happy. . . . [W]ere I only to descant on the qualifications of my limner it would be a subject to fit several sheets. He is a most surprising instance of the force of natural Genius for without the least instruction or improvement he has taken several faces which are thought to be very well done. He has taken a copy of my picture which I think has more of my resemblance than Coplings. He is now taking his own face which I will certainly send you as it must be valued as a curiosity by any friend you shall please to bestow it upon. . . .

  • Prince in Marlborough, 1769-1770

    We are at a great loss for proper materials. At present he has worked only with crayons and them very bad ones and we are so ignorant as not to know what they are to be laid on. He has hitherto used blue paper but I think something better may be found out. If you should meet in your travels with any one who is proficient in the art I wish you would make some inquiries in these particulars for people in general think Mr. Copling will not be willing to give him any instruction and you know there is nobody else in Boston that does anything at the business and I should likewise be obliged to you if you could employ some friend who is a judge of these things to purchase a small appointment of Crayons with other materials proper for the business that he may be kept employed in this way till he has made some further improvement and then I intend to exhibit him to the public and dont doubt he will do honor to the profession.

  • Prince in Marlborough, 1769-1770

    You laugh now and think this is one of Mr. Barnes Schemes but you are quite mistaken it is entirely my own and as it is the only one I ever engaged in I shall be greatly disappointed if it does not succeed. I cannot dismiss this subject without acquainting you that this surprising genius has every qualification to render him a good servant, sober, diligent, and faithful. I believe as he was born in our family that he is of Tory principles but of that I am not quite so certain as he has not yet declared himself.

  • The Barnes Household, Marlborough, Massachuse4s Princes Pictures Sent to England 1770

    I never dreamed she intended to make him a Limner. Ill engadge it would cost her 300 to send him home for improvement and after all were he to answer her expectation who in Boston would prefer a Negro to Copley.. . . If I thought it was to fill up his idle time and no more but if you chuse it I will go to Mr. Strange tho I have very little acquaintance there & carry the pictures for his judgment and give him the history of Prince.

    Janette Barclay to Elizabeth Smith (Summer 1770)

    Sir Robert Strange (1721-1792)

  • Boston Gazette January 22, 1770

    Henry Barnes, Trader Non-Importation Agreements

  • Mr. Barnes has taken his passage with Jacobsen and will sail in a few days. He carries Hogarth with him not entirely in the quality of valet de chambre but with a view of improving him in his painting or reaping some advantage from his performances.

    Christian Barnes to Elizabeth Murray Smith

    Oct. 1770

    William Hogarth, Four Times of Day Noon (1738)

    Princes Trip to London (Nov. 1770 - July 1771)

  • Catherine Macauley

    Princes Trip to London, 1770-71 Painting lessons with Robert Edge Pine

    John Wilkes

    Prince comes on extremely well. He is with a Mr. Pine who has taken him purely for his genius. Mr. Wright tells me I shall carry him a Treasure to America . . . .

    Henry Barnes to Elizabeth Smith

    Feb. 21, 1771

  • George Washington National Portrait Gallery


    Congress Voting Independence Independence Hall


    Princes Trip to London, 1770-71 Painting lessons with Robert Edge Pine

  • Princes Trip to London, 1770-71 Painting lessons with Robert Edge Pine

    John Pine, Engraver (Hogarth)

  • Ignatius Sancho (Gainesborough) Olaudah Equiano Quobna Ottobah Cugoano (?) (Cosway)

    Princes Trip to London, 1770-71 Painting lessons with Robert Edge Pine

    I want you should return with Bill for I do not let [Prince] converse with any of his own colour here.

    Henry Barnes to Elizabeth Murray Smith

    Feb. 21, 1771 (Mass. Historical Society).

  • . . . I have met with so many disappointments in life that tho late I have learnt not to be too sanguine in my expectation. Indeed his life & situation are so precarious if he should even attempt his Freedom it would give me such a disgust to him I should not overlook it. . . .

    Henry Barnes to Elizabeth Murray Smith, Feb. 21, 1771.

    Abolition of Slavery in England Somersetts Case

  • As soon as the roads are tolerable I propose going to Boston in order to recommend our Limner to the Publick.

    Christian Barnes to Elizabeth (Smith) Inman

    Mar. 9, 1772

    Prince in Boston, 1772-73

    James Murray (Copley) Currier Museum of Art

  • Prince in Boston, 1772-73 Boston News-letter, Jan.-Nov. 1773

  • Prince in Boston, 1772-73 King Street and the Town House

  • I had a favor to ask which I must now petition you will grant me which is that if you have an hour to spare at any time when you are in Boston you will allow Prince to make some alteration in the Coppy he has taken from your Picture which he says he cannot do but from the life and Please to give him any directions you think proper as to the Dress of the Head.

    Christian Barnes to Elizabeth Inman

    July 22, 1773 (Library of Congress)

    Elizabeth Murray Smith (Copley) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

    Prince in Boston, 1772-73 Copies Elizabeth Inmans Portrait

  • Prince in Boston, 1772-73 Portrait of William DuGuid (February 1773)

    Metropolitan Museum of Art

  • Henry Barnes, Absentee

  • Prince Demah, Matross Massachusetts State Train of Artillery

  • Burial records, Trinity Church, Boston March 18, 1778: Prince Demiah, a free Negro

  • Princes will, MA State Archives. I, Prince Demah of Boston . . . Limner

  • Bequeaths estate to my Loving Mother Daphne Demah Appoints as executor my trusty Friend Prince Taylor

  • Portrait of Christian Barnes Copy of a Copley

    Mrs. Alexander Cumming (Elizabeth Goldthwait) 1770

    Brooklyn Museum of Art

  • Portrait of Chris9an Barnes Copy of a Copley

  • Portrait of Henry Barnes Likely Painted from Life

  • Portrait of Henry Barnes Likely Painted from Life

  • Portrait of Henry Barnes Likely Painted from Life

  • Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) Phyllis Wheatley

  • Joshua Johnson (1763-1824)

    The Westwood Children National Gallery of Art

    Mrs. Andrew Bedford Bankson and Son Art Institute of Chicago

  • Black Artists and Artisans in Colonial America

    Peter Fleet, woodcut engraver c. 1740 (Harvard Art Museums)