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James Bowdoin III and America's Earliest Collection of Drawings

James Bowdoin III (1752–1811) (fig. 1) was born into one of the wealthiest families in eighteenth-century Boston.1 His father, James Bowdoin II (1726–1790) was a merchant, as was his father and grandfather, and an amateur scientist. In 1780, Bowdoin II helped to found the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston and served as governor of Massachusetts from 1785 to 1787.2 Bowdoin II had an extensive library, which he donated to the Academy upon his death, and a moderate art collection, consisting mostly of family portraits, including a painting of him as a child by John Smibert (fig. 2), several originals or copies of old masters, and a number of prints.3 After his death, Bowdoin III decided to honor his father by helping to fund the founding of a college in Maine in 1794, which was named for James Bowdoin II. He continued to support Bowdoin College throughout the rest of his life and left part of his estate to the College at his death. Educated at Harvard like his father, Bowdoin III left for England in December 1770, due to ill health and before officially receiving his diploma. He enrolled at Oxford, intending to study law, but transferred to the King's Riding School where he learned French, dancing, and fencing.4 At both Oxford and London, Bowdoin would have encountered collections of old master paintings, drawings, and prints. Although letters from his father complain of his rate of spending money and seeming lack of focus on his studies, no art purchases are documented. However, it is likely that the exposure to the university collections at Oxford and the newly opened British Museum, both combining art with science and antiquity like the private cabinets of curiosity or wunderkammers of the previous centuries, sparked Bowdoin's interest in collecting and rational ordering of the world.5 Bowdoin would have also attended exhibitions and sales in London, learning of the importance of drawing to the history of art. From the late sixteenth century onward, collectors believed that drawings allowed for a better understanding of the genius and skill of the artist more so than the final painting.6 Bowdoin returned to Boston in April of 1772 and the next year set sail again for Europe.

In October of 1773, Bowdoin left for Italy with a travel companion — Ward Nicholas Boylston (1747–1828), a member of a wealthy Boston family (fig. 3). Born Ward Hallowell, he changed his name in 1770 at the promise of receiving an inheritance from his uncle, Nicholas Boylston (1716–1771). Bowdoin and Boylston arrived in Naples in mid-January, remaining in the city, then under the control of Spain and ruled by Ferdinand IV (who was later deposed by Napoleon), for over a month. Boylston kept an comprehensive diary, recording visits he and Bowdoin made to Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, Herculaneum, various churches, and major art collections, as well as when they dined with important individuals, such as Sir William Hamilton (1731–1803), the British Ambassador to the Kingdom of Naples and an influential collector of antiquities (fig. 4).7 Hamilton's substantial collection of ancient vases, sold to the British Museum in 1772, greatly added to their holdings of Greek and Roman works. Prior to the sale, the entire collection was published in four lavishly illustrated volumes by Pierre-François d'Hancarville (1719–1805), an amateur dealer and scholar, with contributions by Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717–1768), the German art historian and archaeologist.8 It is likely that at the many dinners and gatherings Bowdoin attended at the Hamilton residence, he was introduced to the writings of Winckelmann, whose treatise on the history of ancient art is recognized as one of the foundational texts for the discipline of art history. The volume, translated from the original German into French in 1794, was purchased by Bowdoin and later donated, along with the rest of his library, to the College (fig. 5).9

Although Boylston recounts in detail the paintings, sculptures, and antiquities that he and Bowdoin saw during their stay, he does not mention any purchases. Bowdoin, however, in a letter to his sister, Elizabeth Temple, dated January 21st, does state that he will have his portrait done at her request, which has been presumed to be the unattributed work now at the Museum (fig. 6).10 On March 12th, the travelers arrived in Rome, where Bowdoin asked that his letters be directed to the art dealer and travel guide, James Byres (1734–1817), who escorted a number of British and American travelers on the Grand Tour and sold numerous works to his clients.11 Byres was friendly with Sir William Hamilton and had accompanied several Americans on the Grand Tour in the previous decade.12 Boylston again provides detailed accounts of their visits to ancient monuments and churches. Although there was little discussion of particular artists in the entries on Naples, for Rome, Boylston carefully notes the famous paintings and frescoes that decorate each and every church. Boylston also begins to discuss different types of marble that he and Bowdoin encounter at sites, whether ancient or modern. In the 1790s, Harvard received from Bowdoin the gift of marble tile samples (fig. 7) almost certainly purchased during this period in Rome.13 Bowdoin continued to collect geological specimens and related materials throughout his life, donating the majority to the College. For both Boylston and Bowdoin, the Grand Tour provided an opportunity to study the ancient past and the great art produced in Italy, and to purchase reminders of their voyage. The two companions parted in Rome — Bowdoin continued to Florence, Bologna, and France, then heading to England to stay with his sister and her husband until his father insisted he return to Boston in September 1775.

Despite the lack of documentation of definitive purchases of art during the Italy trip, Bowdoin certainly bought some paintings, and likely drawings, which were left in England with his sister. One such work is a painting signed and dated 1754 by Charles-François Grenier de LaCroix, a French artist who was still working in Rome in the 1770s (fig. 8), which was likely purchased directly from LaCroix's studio. Elizabeth wrote to James in March of 1784 complaining of the exorbitant cost of shipping the works to Boston and suggesting instead that Mr. Christie, founder of Christie's auction house, sell them.14 Much later in life, after having been appointed the Minister Plenipotentiary (a term that corresponds today to Ambassador) to Spain in 1805, Bowdoin composed a letter to the president, Thomas Jefferson, thanking him for the offer of a diplomatic position and offering his services as a connoisseur of fine art should the need arise.15 In the letter, he states that "having been in Italy and having viewed the works of the best masters, if you would entrust me with your commissions, I would execute them in the best manner of my power."16 Jefferson was an avid collector and recognized the value of arts to the newly established Republic, which could improve and educate society through the contemplation of what was beautiful and noble.17 Later in the letter, Bowdoin offers a gift to Jefferson of a small marble sculpture (fig. 9) — a copy of the ancient Roman Ariadne, then in the Louvre but previously in the Vatican collection (and later returned there). Bowdoin notes that the work was originally owned by a Frenchman but executed from the original in Rome. As the letter was sent before Bowdoin left again for Europe, the sculpture was very likely a purchase made in Rome.

There thus exists some evidence for Bowdoin's collecting activities, but no mention of the one hundred and forty-one drawings that arrived at the College in 1811. In the earliest catalogues of the collection, dating from the late nineteenth century, the assumption was that all paintings and drawings were purchased during Bowdoin's diplomatic mission, during which he spent two years in Paris, attempting to negotiate with the French, who then controlled Spain.18 Although the mission was a failure, Bowdoin returned with a number of the latest French furnishings and décor, making his home in Boston one of the most fashionable in the city, and several contemporary paintings.19 It is also likely that Bowdoin bought drawings during the trip as several of the works are of French origin and date from the mid- to late eighteenth century (fig. 10, fig. 11). Bowdoin's wife, Sarah, kept a diary during their time in France, recording visits to palaces and art collections, including visits to exhibitions of contemporary works.20

At least several of Bowdoin's drawings came from a very different source — the studio of the Scottish painter, John Smibert (1688–1751), who settled in Boston in 1729 after arriving in America at the request of George Berkeley (1685–1753). Smibert had traveled to Italy in 1719, staying there for over two years, painting portraits and copies of works in Italian collections.21 In his extensive notebook, which recorded his travels, paintings produced over the course of his career, and purchases, Smibert lists a group of 250 drawings bought from "Sigre. Scatchati, a floure painter" in Florence in 1720.22 This artist was identified as a member of the Scacciati family of flower painters and printmakers active in Florence in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.23 Smibert opened a shop in his home and studio in Boston in 1734 selling colors, oils, materials for painting fans, mezzotints, and prints, but not drawings.24 His large portrait, The Bermuda Group (fig. 12), was begun in 1728 to commemorate the founding of a seminary in Bermuda, for which Smibert was hired by Berkeley to teach art. Funding never came through, prompting Smibert to move to Boston and marry.25 In the painting, he depicts himself standing at the far left, holding a red chalk drawing of a tree, likely demonstrating his view of drawing as an intellectual activity rather than a manual craft.26 His studio not only trained young artists, but was accessible to other artists who could admire his collection of copies of the old masters and plaster casts. Smibert's nephew inherited his estate after the early death of his two sons and the contents were sold after 1778. James Bowdoin, just a few years returned from his Grand Tour and friendly with the artist John Trumbull, who later rented Smibert's studio, likely jumped at the opportunity to purchase works, most notably the copy of Nicolas Poussin's The Continence of Scipio attributed to Smibert (fig. 13). Three drawings in the Museum bear the inscription "John Smibert," likely indicating their provenance rather than an attribution. These include a late sixteenth-century Italian drawing of the Fall of Icarus (fig. 14), a caricature once believed to be of Duke Cosimo III de'Medici long thought to be by Smibert himself while in Florence (fig. 15), and a sixteenth-century northern design for a dish (fig. 16).27 To this, we can add a lovely drawing by the eighteenth-century Florentine artist, Tommaso Redi (fig. 17), from whom Smibert recorded purchasing a painting. Additionally, it is possible that the group of drawings connected to the studio of the Roman painter Carlo Maratti (1625–1713), comprised of about fifteen sheets, was bought by Smibert from one of the artist's followers.28 As the drawings in Smibert's inventory at his death were recorded only as a single group and no other works bear inscriptions, it is impossible to determine just how many works in the Museum's collection were from the artist and how many were purchased by Bowdoin on his European trips.29 Evidence from the drawings themselves may help sort this mystery.

Although briefly mentioned by David P. Becker in the 1985 catalogue of the entire collection of drawings at Bowdoin College, the original mounts for the drawings were dismissed by him as not providing any substantial evidence of past ownership.30 Further study of these mounts, however, suggests that they may indeed provide valuable clues about specific provenances. The mounts, or papers on which the drawings were glued down, around forty of which were preserved after a major conservation campaign in the early 1980s, are all laid paper, meaning that they date to earlier than the nineteenth century, and a number display decorative framing lines with inscribed attributions in an elegant script (fig. 18). The idea of mounting drawings and including elaborate framework around each dates to the sixteenth century with the artist Giorgio Vasari.31 Vasari, in parallel with the biographies he wrote on the lives of Italian artists, kept an extensive collection of drawings, which he mounted and bound in folios called the Libro de' disegni (fig. 19). Later collectors, mostly nobility and merchants rather than artists, used the Libro as a model for their own collections, which could serve as "books" on the history and development of art. Collectors and their visitors could flip through pages of beautifully framed old master drawings, admiring the skill of the artist's hand, the progression of the arts, and the collector's taste in judgment. Based on the spellings in several of the inscriptions on the Bowdoin drawing mounts, the writer was almost certainly an English speaker. On one mount (fig. 20), there is the notation "died 1530" in graphite at the bottom right in the same hand. Stylistically, these framed sheets resemble the mounting system employed by the early eighteenth-century British artist, theorist, and collector Jonathan Richardson, Sr. (fig. 21).32 Both Bowdoin and Smibert could have seen Richardson's drawings, which were sold at auctions and sales in London during his lifetime and after his death in 1745. Additionally, watermarks on the mounts, both those that include the framing lines and others with simple inscriptions or no markings, indicate that the works were mounted at the same time. Most of the marks appear to be of English or Dutch origin, such as one example, called the Maid of Dort (fig. 22), which is found on several sheets. It is possible that Smibert took the time to carefully mount his drawing collection for storage in folios, likely while preparing for his move to Bermuda to serve as the art instructor at Berkeley's academy. But that would make him unique among artists in the eighteenth century. Although artists did indeed collect drawings, the majority of the works were intended for studio use to be copied and studied by students. Usually, only wealthy collectors employed these elaborate frames. It is entirely possible, and I would argue likely, that Bowdoin himself directed the mounting of his drawings based on the collections he saw during his multiple stays in London.

Looking at the breakdown of subjects and types of drawings would indicate that this collection was not purchased en masse, but seemingly carefully selected by the owner from various sales.33 To begin, there are at least ten counterproofs in the group of one hundred and forty one, an extraordinarily large number compared to other collections — in Becker's 1985 catalogue of all drawings at Bowdoin, only two other counterproofs are recorded. A counterproof, or offset, is taken by wetting a blank sheet of paper and pressing it against the original drawing, usually in chalk, and the reverse image "prints" onto the new sheet. Hence the Christ Child blessing with his left hand in the drawing, which is a counterproof, attributed to Masucci (fig. 23). From the appearance of so many of these works in the collection, it seems that Bowdoin favored this particular type of drawing. Beyond the number of counterproofs, there appears to be some interest in specific subjects and in copies of old masters. The The collection can be categorized as follows. Around sixty-five are Biblical scenes, of which more than half are images of the Holy Family, the Virgin and Child, or the Visitation — the meeting between the Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth when they both learn the other is pregnant. This subject may have been particularly poignant for Bowdoin, who died childless. The next largest groups are landscape (about twenty-five), classical mythology and historical subjects (approximately thirty), and finally figure studies (twenty). There are several recognizable copies after noted paintings or sculptures (fig. 24 and fig. 25) and a number of other drawings that are likely copies, but the original source has not been identified. For Bowdoin, as for other collectors at the time, copies could have served as substitutes for the originals, as quality paintings by Raphael or Poussin were difficult to obtain and reproductions in the form of paintings or drawings were more valuable than inferior originals.34

During the course of his life, Bowdoin likely kept his collection of drawings in the library — they were catalogued there in 1811 by John Abbott, sent from the College to document the property it inherited upon Bowdon's death (fig. 26).35 The entire library, comprising over 2,000 volumes arrived with "two folios" of drawings in 1811 and the paintings in 1813. Bowdoin intended that his art and science collections, along with the library, would serve as models of instruction for generations of students.36 The drawings continued to reside in their original folios in the library until the opening of the Walker Art Building in 1894, where all were displayed with the paintings (fig. 27). According to more recent catalogues and studies, the drawings were all but forgotten in the library, gathering dust and unnoticed by students and professors alike until 1881, when a student rediscovered them and composed a comprehensive catalogue based primarily on the inscriptions on the drawings themselves and the mount attributions.37 The drawings, however, were not forgotten — they were mentioned in library catalogues throughout the nineteenth century and in an article published in the Art Journal entitled "The Art-Treasures of Bowdoin College," where a number were described as "powerfully drawn and graceful."38 Students throughout the early nineteenth century could have consulted the folios, flipping through the pages of drawings in their elaborate mounts with attributions carefully noted, "reading" the history of art and appreciating Bowdoin's taste as a collector. The one hundred and forty-one drawings donated by Bowdoin to the College represent an important moment in the history of collecting and appreciation for the arts in the Early Republic, which are still today used in the education of students and can now be fully presented in this catalogue to a wider, global audience.


End Notes

  1. Richard H. Saunders III, "James Bowdoin III (1752–1811)," in The Legacy of James Bowdoin III, 1-31 (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1994) remains the best overview for Bowdoin's biography.
  2. For James Bowdoin II's biography, see Gordon E. Kershaw, James Bowdoin: Patriot and Man of the Enlightenment, ed. Martha Dean (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College, 1976); Kershaw, James Bowdoin II: Patriot and Man of the Enlightenment (Lanham: University Press of America, 1991); and Frank Edward Manuel and Fritzie Prigohzy Manuel, James Bowdoin and the Patriot Philosophers (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2004).
  3. The large collection of prints, even seemingly decorating the stable, is documented in the inventory taken in 1774, when the Beacon Hill home was occupied by a British officer: "Inventory of the House of James Bowdoin II," September 15, 1774, Winthrop Family Papers Microfilm, Reel 47, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. Bowdoin II's collection was not unusual for the time as probate inventories in colonial America and the Early Republic often record prints, usually copies of the old masters and portraits of the family.
  4. Letter from James Bowdoin II to James Bowdoin III, June 12, 1771, Reel 47, Winthrop Papers Microfilm, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston and Letter from James Bowdoin III to James Bowdoin II, November 3, 1771, Reel 47, Winthrop Papers Microfilm.
  5. For a brief history of the wunderkammer and collecting, see Oliver R. Impey, The Origin of Museums: The Cabinet of Curiosities in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Europe (Oxford: Clarendon, 1986); Pamela H. Smith and Paula Findlen, ed., Merchants and Marvels: Commerce, Science, and Art in Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2002); and Arthur MacGregor, Curiosity and Enlightenment: Collectors and Collections from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007).
  6. Joseph Meder, The Mastery of Drawing, trans. Winslow Ames Vol. 1 (New York: Abaris Books, 1978), 478–85, provides a short overview on the shift in drawing collecting from primarily artists to scholars and connoisseurs. Seventeenth-and eighteenth-century collectors and authors, including Filippo Baldinucci (1624–97), Roger de Piles (1635–1709), Jonathan Richardson, Sr. (1667–1745), and Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694–1774), all discussed the importance of drawings and connoisseurship. See Kristel Smentek, Mariette and the Science of Connoisseurship in Eighteenth-Century Europe (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014); Carol Gibson-Wood, Jonathan Richardson: Art Theorist of the English Enlightenment (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); and Thomas Puttfarken, Roger de Piles' Theory of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).
  7. Travel Diary of Ward Nicholas Boylston, 1773–75, box 85, vol. 19 and 20, Ms. N-4, Boylston Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. In a letter from James Bowdoin II to his son, dated August 24, 1774, Bowdoin II mentions that he looks forward to reading his son's travel diary. No such diary is known and it is unclear if Bowdoin kept a record of his trip or relied on Boylston's account (Reel 47, Winthrop Papers Microfilm, Massachusetts Historical Society).
  8. For an extensive overview of Hamilton's collection and his importance in art history, see Ian Jenkins and Kim Sloan, ed., Vases and Volcanoes: Sir William Hamilton and His Collection (London: British Museum Press, 1996).
  9. See both Catalogue compiled by John Abbot of the books, artwork, and scientific instruments bequested to Bowdoin College, December 1811, Box 1, Folder 94, Bowdoin Family Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library and Catalogue of the Library of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (Brunswick, ME: Joseph Griffin, 1821), 6. Winckelmann was also an important scholar for the history of drawings, see Ingrid R. Vermeulen, Picturing Art History: The Rise of the Illustrated History of Art in the Eighteenth Century (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010), particularly 91-176, for his use of drawings as illustrations for the progression of the arts.
  10. Letter from James Bowdoin III to Elizabeth Temple, January 21, 1774, Reel 47, Winthrop Papers Microfilm, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.
  11. Byres, a Scotsman, was both an artist and dealer. For more on his biography, see Ilaria Bignamini and Clare Sekul Hornsby, Digging And Dealing In Eighteenth-Century Rome (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010); Paolo Coen, Il mercato dei quadri a Roma nel XVIII secolo (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2010); Brinsley Ford, "James Byres, principal antiquarian to the English visitors to Rome," Apollo 99, no. 148 (June 1974), 446–61; and Francis Russell, "John, 3rd Earl of Bute and James Byres: A Postscript," in Roma Britannica: Art Patronage and Cultural Exchange in Eighteenth-Century Rome, ed. David R. Marshall, Susan Russell, and Karin Wolfe (London: The British School at Rome, 2011), 121-144. Russell reproduces a number of letters between Byres and John Stuart, the Earl of Bute, which record Byres's activities as a collector and dealer of drawings, of original old masters, copies, and contemporary works that he commissioned.
  12. Ford, "James Byres, principal antiquarian to the English visitors to Rome," 451-52. The group of Americans included Dr. John Morgan (1735-89), a founder of the American Philosophical Society, who later recommended Byres to John Singleton Copley (1738-1815).
  13. My thanks to Lola Sanchez for providing the reference to the marbles, now in the Collection of Scientific Instruments at Harvard University. The online catalogue for the Collection notes that in June of 1796, the Trustees of Harvard College requested that the keepers of the mineral cabinet send their thanks to Bowdoin for the donation, "Marble Samples in Frame, Inv. No. 0046a,"$0040: 11661.
  14. Letter from Elizabeth Temple to James Bowdoin III, March 24, 1784, Reel 49, Winthrop Papers Microfilm, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.
  15. Letter from James Bowdoin III to Thomas Jefferson, March 22, 1805, James Bowdoin III Letterbook 1791-1805, Vol. 1, Bowdoin Family Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
  16. Letter from James Bowdoin III to Thomas Jefferson, March 22, 1805.
  17. Leanne Zalewski, "Fine Art for the New World: Thomas Jefferson, Collecting for the Future," Journal of the History of Collections 27, no. 1 (2015): 49. See also Lillian B. Miller, Patrons and Patriotism: The Encouragement of the Fine Arts in the United States 1790-1860 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), 15-16 for more on the reception of art in America. There were critics who believed that the cultivation and collecting of fine arts was a distraction from the important work of building industry, such as Benjamin Franklin, who argued that the "invention of a machine or the improvement of an implement is of more importance than a masterpiece by Raphael," quoted in Miller, Patrons and Patriotism, 12.
  18. Henry Johnson, Catalogue of the Bowdoin College Art Collections Part I: The Bowdoin Drawings (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College, 1885), 3.
  19. See Susan E. Wegner, "Copies and Education: James Bowdoin's Painting Collection in the Life of the College," in The Legacy of James Bowdoin III, 141-71 for the display of art and furnishings at Bowdoin's home. For a succinct analysis of the failed mission and the greater political climate, see Linda Docherty, "Original Copies: Gilbert Stuart's Companion Portraits of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison," American Art 22, no. 2 (Summer 2008): 85-97.
  20. Sarah Bowdoin's Diary, October 1806-February 1808, M15.3, folders 117-23, Bowdoin Family Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library. The entry dated December 8, 1806, describes a visit to the Louvre to see French paintings. On October 5, 1807, Sarah went with James to see a Cabinet of Curiosities in a garden in Paris that she calls the Volant.
  21. Richard H. Saunders, John Smibert: Colonial America's First Portrait Painter (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 24-33, describes the artist's work during his time abroad. Smibert made a number of purchases and it is likely that he was acting as an agent for British patrons as several of the works listed were expensive.
  22. Sir David Evans, John Kerslake, and Andrew Oliver, The Notebook of John Smibert (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1969), 99.
  23. Miles Chappell, "A Note on John Smibert's Italian Sojurn," The Art Bulletin 64, no. 1 (March 1982): 137.
  24. Saunders, John Smibert: Colonial America's First Portrait Painter, 100, which records an ad in Boston Newsletter and in Boston Gazette, Oct 10-17, 1734. Smibert also placed an ad about selling prints in March 1735, which was successful, 101-02.
  25. See Saunders, John Smibert: Colonial America's First Portrait Painter, 61-86, for a full overview of the failed academy.
  26. Margaretta M. Lovell, Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans, and Patrons in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), 187-92.
  27. The caricature is not Duke Cosimo. Miles Chappell has suggested that the subject could be Antonio Magliabecchi (1633-1714), Cosimo III's librarian, see Chappell, "A Note on John Smibert's Italian Sojurn," 135.
  28. David P. Becker, Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1985), xv; and David P. Becker, "James Bowdoin's Drawing Collection," Master Drawings 38, no. 3 (Autumn 2000): 223-232.
  29. For the inventory, see Saunders, John Smibert: Colonial America's First Portrait Painter, 263-4.
  30. Becker, Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College, xv.
  31. For brief overviews of Vasari and the history of drawing collecting, see Anna Forlani Tempesti, "Giorgio Vasari and the Libro de' disegni: A Paper Museum or Portable Gallery," in Giorgio Vasari and the Birth of the Museum, ed. Maia Wellington Gahtan, 31-52 (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014) and Catherine Monbeig-Goguel, "Vasari's Attitude Toward Collecting," in Vasari's Florence: Artists and Literati at the Medicean Court, ed. Philip Jacks, 111-136 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
  32. See Gibson-Wood, Jonathan Richardson: Art Theorist of the English Enlightenment, for an extended discussion of Richardson as artist, collector, and most importantly, scholar.
  33. Although most drawing collections were bought as large groups, the expanding market with more dealers and auctions by the end of the eighteenth century allowed for greater choice, see Diane Dethloff, "Patterns of Drawing Collecting in Late Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century England," in Drawing: Masters and Methods Raphael to Redon, ed. Diane Dethloff, 197-207 (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1992).
  34. See Wegner, "Copies and Education: James Bowdoin's Painting Collection in the Life of the College," for an overview of the role of copies in American collecting and Inge Reist, "Sacred Art in the Profane New World of Nineteenth-Century America," in Sacred Possessions: Collecting Italian Religious Art 1500-1900, ed. Gail Feigenbaum and Sybille Ebert-Schiffere, 224-40 (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2011) for an extended discussion on the role of copies of old master religious paintings in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century America. For American artists and patrons, copies and contemporary works influenced by Raphael were admired for their "sentimentality and their evocation of strong moral and family values," 227.
  35. Catalogue compiled by John Abbot of the books, artwork, and scientific instruments bequested to Bowdoin College, December 1811, Bowdoin Family Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library
  36. The collection of old master paintings and eighteenth-century copies did not reach Brunswick until 1813. Laura Sprague has speculated, and I think rightly so, that Sarah Bowdoin, who still resided in their Boston home, did not want her walls stripped bare of all decoration. In 1813, however, Mrs. Bowdoin became Mrs. Henry Dearborn – considered scandalous at the time because of how quickly the event occurred after James' death – and as her residence changed, she was no longer concerned by the possible lack of wall coverage at her former home. Thus the paintings arrived in 1813 and the family portraits after Sarah's death in 1826.
  37. Becker, Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College, xvi-xvii.
  38. Catalogue of the Library of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (Brunswick, ME: J. Griffin, 1821), 2 and George J. Varney, "The Art-Treasures of Bowdoin College," The Art Journal 6 (1880): 375-8.December 1811, Bowdoin Family Collection, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library