Ralph Earl1
Born Leicester or Shrewsbury, Mass., May 11, 1751.
Died Bolton, Conn., August 16, 1801.

Portrait of a Man with a Gun, 17842
Oil on canvas
86 7/8 x 57 7/16 in. (220.7 x 145.9 cm)
Museum purchase, 1921.156

Signed and dated, bottom left, in dark brown paint: "R Earle Pinx. 84"

A private collection in Brighton; to Christie’s, London; to Daniel Farr, a dealer in Philadelphia and New York; to The Ehrich Galleries, New York; purchased by the Worcester Art Museum, June 6, 1921.3

Worcester 1922, 174.

"Acquisitions by Purchase, 1921–1922," Worcester Annual Report 1922, 26.

Simons 1923, 42–45.

Lee 1929, 218.

Worcester 1933, 96, 97.

Sawitzky 1935a, 8.

Burroughs 1936, 93.

Cheney 1939, 39.

Sherman 1939, 178.

Sawitzky 1945, Introduction, n.p. and cat. no. 8.

"Ralph Earl," Worcester News Bulletin 11: 3 (December 1945): n.p.

Davenport 1948, 2, 780, 781.

Sawitzky and Sawitzky 1960, 30, 33.

Lyon 1963, 10.

Goodrich 1967, 32–33.

Jareckie 1976, 11–12.

Kornhauser 1985, 1012, 1015.

Kornhauser 1988, I, xvi, 71, 294.

Kornhauser 1991a, 28, 126–27.

Early American Portraits Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, January 20–March 8, 1925.

Ralph Earl, 1751–1801, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, October 16–November 21, 1945; and Worcester Art Museum, December 13, 1945–January 13, 1946, cat. no. 8.

The Early Republic: Consolidation of Revolutionary Goals, Worcester Art Museum, March 3–June 30, 1976, cat. no. 6.

Ralph Earl: The Face of the Young Republic, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Conn., February 2–April 2, 1992, cat. no. 15.

1. The art dealer Edward F. Coffin questioned the attribution of this painting. Clarence S. Brigham, director of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, noted that "Mr. Coffin told him [the painting] was sold at a time there was a perfect influx of fake English Earls. It was offered to Thomas Clarke who refused to buy it." Typed note, May 17, 1939, object file, Worcester Art Museum. Edward F. Coffin, who sold both Thomas Earle and Looking East from Denny Hill to the Worcester Art Museum, "said he always had his doubts about this picture." Typed note, October 3, 1939, object file, Worcester Art Museum.

The Sawitzkys and Elizabeth Kornhauser, the most serious scholars of Earl’s work, have accepted the painting as by him, although Kornhauser noted in her dissertation that "the signature has been reinforced by a restorer" (1988, 294).

2. This painting also has been published as: Portrait of a Man (Worcester Annual Report 1922, 26), The Man with a Gun (Worcester 1933, 96), A Gentleman with Gun and Two Dogs (Sawitzky 1945, cat. no. 8), Hunter with Gun and Dogs (Goodrich 1967, 32), and Hunter with Gun and Two Dogs (Kornhauser 1988, 294).

3. Daniel Farr identified himself as a prior owner of the painting in a letter addressed to "Curator of The Worcester Art Museum" and dated July 13, 1960: "Years ago when I had places in N.Y. & Philadelphia I sold you [next five words inserted above:] or possibly through a dealer a full length portrait of a man in red dress with a gun by Ralph Earl." In a subsequent letter, he added," Re. your Earle . . . I bought it in the depths of the Old Christies building it never appeared in the salesroom." Daniel Farr to [Louisa] Dresser, July 30, 1960.

H. L. Ehrich indicated that the painting came from "a private collection in Brighton," in a letter to Raymond Wyer, May 2, 1921. The Worcester Art Museum acquired this painting from the Ehrich Galleries for cash and Ralph Earl’s portrait of his cousin, Thomas Earle (1800, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.) See bill, June 2, 1921, approved June 6, 1921. All documents in object file, Worcester Art Museum.