JOHN G. CHAPLIN
Born November 30, 1828, in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, John G. Chaplin was the oldest child of Levi and Sophia Norris Chaplin. From his father, John learned the trade of barbering, a traditional occupation of middle-class free blacks of that era. But simultaneously, throughout his lifetime, John Chaplin pursued a career as a painter of portraits and Biblical and literary tableaux.
He is reported to have been sent as a young man to study with Robert Douglas, Jr., in Philadelphia and also to have studied at the art academy in Dusseldorf, Germany. His skill as a copyist of famous works of art suggests that he did have formal training. Surviving works of this type include David's
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