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 Thomas McIlworth  ( - 1770)

About: Thomas McIlworth


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Lived/Active: New York / Canada      Known for: portrait

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Thomas McIlworth, a New York portraitist, was active from circa 1757-1770. Little is known of the artist's life, training or career. He is mentioned as working in New York City for about five years, beginning in 1757. In New York City, he was one of the very few painters active after the departure of John Wollaston.

McIlworth was active in the Hudson River Valley and the Albany-Schenectady area (Schenectady primarily, but also Albany) until about 1767 painting the wealthy landowners. He introduced a clarity and severity of style that reflects the Neo-classical mode, best exemplified in the colonies by Boston's John Singleton Copley. McIlworth numbered among his sitters members of such leading Albany families as the Schuylers and the Van Rensselaers.

He may have died, about 1770, in Montreal, Canada.

McIlworth's portraits are characterized by sharp studio lighting, an emphasis upon solid three-dimensional form, and a general sobriety of expression. He emphasized simple geometry the features of a face with sharp, planar edges set into a long rectangle.

Several of his portraits are in the New York Historical Society, New York City.


Matthew Baigell, "Dictionary of American Artists"

William Gerdts, "Art Across America" (Vol. 1)

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