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Joseph Blackburn (Massachusetts/New Hampshire/United Kingdom, d. 1778), Portrait of David Mumford (1730-1807), New London, Connecticut

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American Furniture & Decorative Arts - 3038B
Date / Time :
November 04, 2017 10:00AM


Joseph Blackburn (Massachusetts/New Hampshire/United Kingdom, d. 1778)

Portrait of David Mumford (1730-1807), New London, Connecticut
Oil on canvas, 51 x 40 in., in the likely original molded, beaded, and carved gilt-gesso wood frame.
Condition: Relined, retouch to small areas.

Provenance: This portrait has been in the consignor's family since the 1920s. Copies of two letters detailing some pre-1922 ownership and whereabouts of the portrait are available for inspection.

Literature: David Mumford's life is recounted in detail in Mumford Memoirs by James Gregory Mumford, M.D. The Merrymount Press: Boston, 1900. The book is excerpted in the note below.

Note: According to James Gregory Mumford, in the mid-18th century, Thomas and his brother David with "their little fleet of packets did a thriving trade with the West Indies until the [French and Indian War] turned them to privateering." The adventurer, David Mumford, "on the twelfth of June, 1757... in a New London privateer, fell down to Harbor's mouth, and on the seventeenth, five days later, there arrived at New London a prize schooner taken by Captain Mumford" showing "quick work on the part of our vigorous ancestor."

"This was the end of his active career as a privateersman, however; for shortly afterwards he was taken by a French man-of-war and carried, a prisoner, into Martinique. He did not wait for the capture of the island by Rodney, in 1762, for his release, but in some way escaped and returned home [prior to 1758]."

"A young wife and children came to chain him to New London, and from this date his active adventures ceased... our David Mumford married his [Gurdon Saltonstall's] granddaughter Rebecca… She was born on the thirty-first of December, 1734, and David on the tenth of March, 1731, so that at the time of their marriage [June 1st, 1758 in New London] he was twenty-seven and she was twenty-three. Their portraits, painted about that time, show them a fine couple in whom their descendants may take a proper pride." The whereabouts of Rebecca Saltonstall's portrait are unknown.

"With the outbreak of our own Revolution in 1775... [the Mumfords] were staunch patriots and Whigs, and their devotion to the cause of their country was never doubted, in spite of their Churchmanship and Tory connections." During the Revolutionary War, David served on the Governor's Council of Safety.

Estimate $30,000-50,000

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.


David Mumford, James Gregory Mumford, Joseph Blackburn, Rebecca Saltonstall, Thomas, Cinema of the United States, Gurdon, Mathematics, Mumford, Saltonstall, New London, Martinique, United Kingdom