Captain-Lieutenant John Larrabee, about 1750
The paintings primary support is a herringbone-weave fabric; its dark-blue parallel stripes are similar to those on bed ticking. The vertical pattern of the ticking is now visible in some of the thinner painted passages. Cusping in the weave is visible along the edges of the painting. A glue lining was removed in 1974 and replaced with a wax-resin lining. Past lining treatments have probably contributed to an emphasis of the canvas weave in the paint surface. A fabric insert was used to repair a loss in the canvas support on the sitters proper left foot.
Badger applied the warm gray ground in a moderately thick layer that does not hide the support texture. When painting the portrait, he apparently blocked in sections-for example, the arms, hands, breeches, stockings, and shoes. These sections feature hard edges and local opaque color. Some blending of paints occurs wet-in-wet, whereas most of the details were applied using a wet-on-dry technique. In general, the artist applied the paint broadly and thinly. Slight impasto occurs on highlights. The foliage in the upper left was painted over the completed sky. A pentimento is visible where the end of the cannon was reworked.
There are numerous small, scattered losses as well as losses associated with damage to the canvas support. The paint surface shows abrasion and signs of over- cleaning. The most recent varnishing, applied in 1974, consists of a thin brush coat of Acryloid B-67, followed by spray coatings of Acryloid B-72. The surface also appears uneven and matte.
The frame resembles those on Badgers portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Waldo, John Singleton Copleys John Bours and Joseph Blackburns Hannah Babcock (Mrs. John Bours).
The wood appears to be a softwood, and the corners are mitered and have cross splines on the back. The inner edge has a carved foliate design. There is a central flat of sandwork, followed by an ogee profile with a strapwork scroll ornament and a five-petal, flower-and-berry ornament. The back panel has a narrow band of shallow carving and is finished with yellow bole.