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 William Read  (1607 - 1679)

About: William Read


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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/Connecticut      Known for: first portrait in America, mapmaker

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
From Batcombe, England, William Read came to America in the early 1630s and first settled in Weymouth, Massachusetts. In 1646, he moved to Boston, and in 1674 to Norwich, Connecticut where he died five years later.

He was a mapmaker and is credited with painting the first portrait done in America, the subject being Governor Bellingham of Massachusetts and the completion date, 1641.

However, art historian William Sawitzky questioned this assertion, thinking the portrait was done in England and calling its attribution to Savitsky "most doubtful".

George Groce & David Wallace, "Dictionary of Artists in America"

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