It was Waldron Phoenix Belknap who first discovered that in a large proportion of early Colonial portraits the compositions had been copied in whole or in part from mezzotints published in London. The tragic and untimely death in 1949 of the founder of The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press cut short a study of the foundations of American painting upon which he had been actively engaged, but the present volume brings together its author’s contributions to art history.
Prepared for publication by the staff of the Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Jr., Research Library of American Painting, at the Henry Francis duPont Winterthur Museum, the book is divided into seven parts: The Identity of Robert Feke; Problems in Identification, De Peyster Portraits; New York Painters and Patrons: The Genealogical Approach; Painters and Craftsmen; Notes on Colonial Portraits; The Discoveries of Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Jr., concerning the Influence of the English Mezzotint on Colonial Painting; New York Portraits.
The many hundreds of names included in the work are brought together in an analytical index. Two hundred and eighty-four Colonial portraits and British mezzotints are illustrated in half-tone plates. There is a four-color frontispiece.