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Smibert, or Smybert, John 1684-1751

Portrait-painter; born in Edinburgh, Scotland, about 1684; studied in Italy and painted in London, and in 1728 accompanied Dean Berkeley to America. He painted the portraits of many New England worthies. The only portrait of Jonathan Edwards ever made was painted by Smibert, who died in Boston in 1751. Smibert introduced portrait-painting into America. He was not an artist of the first rank, for the arts were then at a low ebb in England; but the best portraits that we have of the eminent magistrates and divines in New England and New York, who lived between 1725 and 1751, are from his pencil. While with Berkeley at Newport he painted a group of portraits, including the dean and a part of his family, in which the figure of the artist appears. The picture belongs to Yale College.

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