James Frothingham

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James Frothingham
James Frothingham.png
James Frothingham, portrait by his daughter, Sarah C. Frothingham
Born 1786
Charlestown, Massachusetts
Died January 6, 1864
Nationality American
Education Gilbert Stuart
Known for Painting

James Frothingham (1786–1864) [1] [2] was an American portrait painter in Massachusetts and New York.

Life and work[edit]

James Frothingham was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts.[1] He began as a chaise painter in his father's chaise manufactory. In the Boston area, he was a student of Gilbert Stuart.[1] In 1888, The Atlantic Monthly described him as "a portraitist of talent",[2] adding that Stuart is quoted as having said of one of Frothingham's head portraits, "No man in Boston but myself can paint so good a head," and that Frothingham was greatly helped by Stuart's criticisms and encouragement, although initially his Nestor had advised him to adopt another, less precarious means of earning a livelihood.[2]

The Atlantic noted that there is a detailed portrait of Samuel Dexter by Frothingham in the Harvard Memorial Hall, in which Dexter, wearing a white wig and a red cloak atop a black coat, holds a book in his hand, and appears lost in meditation, saying the flesh coloring in the painting is rather dry and parchment-like, but overall, the color is harmonious. Dunlap noted that heads depicted by James Frothingham were painted with great truth, freedom, and excellence.[2]

He painted a number of likenesses in Salem, including the wealthy merchant Elias Hasket Derby. Frothingham would have been a regional competitor to the younger Chester Harding (1792–1866), but in 1826 moved to Brooklyn in New York City.

In 1828 he was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full Academician in 1831.

Frothingham was the subject of a portrait bust by Joanna Quiner.[3] His own portrait of her is held by the Beverly Public Library in Beverly, Massachusetts.[4]

Selection of portraits[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Chester Harding (1792–1866)" (biography), Worcester Art, webpage: WorcArt-Harding.
  2. ^ a b c d "Boston Painters and Paintings" (article), The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 62, Issue 370, August 1888, p. 258, LOC webpage: LOC-AMonthly-Boston (notes Samuel Dexter portrait flesh tone; has Dunlap & Gilbert Stuart quote: "No man in Boston but myself can paint so good a head.").
  3. ^ Charlotte Streifer Rubinstein (1990). American women sculptors: a history of women working in three dimensions. G.K. Hall. ISBN 978-0-8161-8732-4. 
  4. ^ "Joanna Quiner". npg.si.edu. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 


External links[edit]