Circle of Joseph Whiting Stock
American (1815 – 1855)
Oil on canvas – The canvas has been relined and placed onto a later stretcher. There is an area of restoration under the older girl’s right foot and what could be writing next to this.
59.5 cm by 49 cm (23.4 inches by 19.29 inches)
Frame measures- 87 cm by 77 cm (34.25 inches by 30.32 inches)
Joseph Whiting Stock was an American painter known for portraits, miniatures and landscape paintings. Born on January 30, 1815, in Springfield, Massachusetts he was paralyzed from the waist down when an oxcart fell on him at the age of eleven. On advice from his doctor, Dr William Little Loring, he began to study painting under Franklin White, a pupil of the painter Chester Harding. In 1834 he was commissioned by Dr James Swan to do a series of anatomical drawings and the doctor took it upon himself to construct a wheelchair which enabled Stock to sit up and move about his parents’ home. This led to increased mobility for Stock as the wheelchair could be lifted on and off trains allowing him to travel in search of clients. For the next twenty years Stock accepted commissions for portraits from around New England, working in Warren and Bristol, Rhode Island, New Bedford, Massachusetts, and Middletown, Goshen, and Port Jervis, New York. He also had studios in his hometown of Springfield during this time. He kept a diary of his activities and commissions for fourteen years and this rare documentation not only describes his career but provides great insights into the lives nineteenth-century American portrait painters. His diary records that from 1832 to 1846 he executed over 912 paintings with an additional 85 to 95 among his possessions at his death, due to tuberculosis, at the age of forty in 1855.
Today his work can be found in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Springfield Museums.