(b. 1741, Chur, d. 1807, Roma)
Portrait of John Apthorp and His Daughters1764
Oil on canvas, 97 x 135 cm
John Apthorp (1730-1772) was the son of the prosperous Boston merchant Charles Apthorp (1698-1758). In 1763, he and his family, which included two daughters, Grizzell and Catharine, set sail for Italy. They met Angelica Kauffmann in Rome and sat to the painter in the summer of 1764.
In the present canvas, Kauffmann chose a horizontal format to accommodate the figures of the two young daughters, who stand embracing each other at the left. Their father glances down to them, seated in a chair and dressed in a red velvet suit, his arm resting on a table. It was suggested in the literature that the figures of the two girls had been added at a later date, however, it is debated.