Joseph Badger

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Joseph Badger (c. 1707–1765) was a portrait artist in Boston, Massachusetts, in the 18th century. He was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to tailor Stephen Badger and Mercy Kettell. He "began his career as a house-painter and glazier, and ... throughout his life continued this work, besides painting signs, hatchments and other heraldic devices, in order to eke out a livelihood when orders for portraits slackened."[1] In 1731 he married Katharine Felch; they moved to Boston around 1733. He was a member of the Brattle Street Church.[1] He died in Boston on May 11, 1765, when "on Saturday last one Mr. Badger, of this Town, Painter, was taken with an Apoplectic Fit as he was walking in his Garden, and expired in a few Minutes after."[2] Works by Badger are in the collections of the Worcester Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and Historic New England's Phillips House, Salem, Mass. While respected in his own time, subsequent scholars and connoisseurs largely overlooked Badger's significance until Lawrence Park wrote a book about him in 1918.[3]

Portrait subjects[edit]

Image gallery[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lawrence Park. Joseph Badger (1708-1765): and a descriptive list of some of his works. 1918
  2. ^ Boston Evening Post, 05-13-1765; p.3., center column, roughly ⅔ down
  3. ^ Meschutt, David (July 2004). Park, Lawrence (1873-1924), art historian. New York: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1401139. ISBN 978-0-19-860669-7.
  4. ^ Yale Bulletin Archived 2009-04-18 at the Wayback Machine. 2003
  5. ^ Smithsonian
  6. ^ Worcester Art Museum
  7. ^ Joseph Badger and His Work, Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 51, Massachusetts Historical Society, Published by the Society, Boston, Massachusetts, 1918
  8. ^ In the portrait of Rebecca Orne as a child in the Worcester Art Museum, the sitter holds a squirrel. Badger incorporated an emblematic squirrel into some of his portraits; he "would seem to have the claim to primacy" of what later became a hot trend in colonial portraiture, common in the work of his contemporary John Singleton Copley. Cf. Roland E. Fleischer. Emblems and Colonial American Painting. American Art Journal, Vol. 20, No. 3 (1988); p.26
  9. ^ Susan Rather. Carpenter, Tailor, Shoemaker, Artist: Copley and Portrait Painting around 1770. Art Bulletin, v.79, No. 2, June 1997; p.288
  10. ^ Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  11. ^ Massachusetts Historical Society. "Smith-Townsend Family Papers and Papers II".
  12. ^ Portrait of Whitefield, ca. 1750, attributed to Joseph Badger. Harvard University Portrait Collection.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lawrence Park. Joseph Badger (1708-1765): and a descriptive list of some of his works. 1918.
  • Portrait of Jeremiah Belknap by Joseph Badger. Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Vol. 6, No. 7/8 (Sep. - Oct., 1919), pp. 123–125.
  • The Orne Portraits by Joseph Badger. Worcester Art Museum Bulletin v. 1, no. 2, Feb. 1972.

External links[edit]