Brown, Jane Lucas ()Role: Colonial Lady
Portrait Location: Nightingale-Brown House
Artist: Blackburn, Joseph (b. 1697; d. after 1778)
Portrait Date: c. 1754
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 49 1/4" x 39 1/4"
Brown Portrait Number: 257
Brown Historical Property Number: 2298
Jane Lucus Brown was the wife of Captain John Brown, a Newport, Rhode Island, merchant (BP 256). She is depicted in this portrait in all of her silk and linen finery, indicative of her wealth and status. The rose in her hand has been interpreted as a symbol of her pious devotion. Joseph Blackburn was born in England, but by August of 1752 he was gaining commissions in Bermuda to paint portraits of the island's wealthiest families. He spent 1754 in Newport, hence the likely date for his portrait of Capt. Brown and his wife. From Newport he moved on the Boston and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, drawing an ample and wealthy clientele attracted by his Rococo style. His subjects are elegantly portrayed in their finest wardrobes and well-mannered poses. By 1758, he faced stiff competition from Boston painter John Singleton Copley and by 1764 he had returned to London. His last signed portrait dates to 1778. This portrait and the companion portrait of Captain Blackburn (BP 256) were purchased in the 1930s by Brown trustee and fellow John Nicholas Brown, whose descendants donated them to Brown University in 1995.