Captain Harding Williams

Abraham Delanoy (1742-1795)

ca. 1785

Oil on Canvas

Abraham Delanoy studied painting in London under the tutelage of renowned artist Benjamin West. Following the completion of his studies abroad, Delanoy returned to the United States, where he established himself as a portrait painter in New York City, South Carolina, and the West Indies. His portrait of Captain Harding Williams, with its emphasis on linearity and soft tones, is typical of Delanoy’s style. Williams’ trade as a captain of trips to Lisbon, Dublin, Bordeaux and Glasgow, is referenced in this portrait through the inclusion of a map and compass. Captain Williams lived in the Delaware Valley area and is buried in the cemetery of Immanuel Episcopal Church in New Castle, Delaware.

For Further Thinking: Delanoy included references to Captain Williams’ trade as a sea captain. What would you included in a portrait of yourself to reference your job and personality?