Mezzotint, Print, Jonathan Belcher, Governor of Massachusetts, and New Jersey

Mezzotint, Print, Jonathan Belcher, Governor of Massachusetts, and New Jersey, Image 1

Title R[ichard] Phillips pinx[it] / J. Faber fecit, His Excellency JONATHAN BELCHER, Esqr, Captain General & Governor in Chief of His Majesty's Provinces of Massachuset's Bay & New Hampshire in NEW ENGLAND and Vice Admiral of the Same.

Jonathan Belcher (1682-1757), Governor of Massachusetts from 1730 to 1741, and New Jersey from 1747-1757.

By London printmaker John Faber, Jr. (1695-1756) Belcher's "claimed" family coat-of-arms (since he came from a Massachusetts native and son of Thomas Belcher, a prosperous merchant and member of the Massachusetts Council with no aristocratic pedigree or genealogical tie to the first leaders of Massachusetts) appears in the middle of the title.

The print is after a half-length portrait painted by Richard Philips (1681-1741), probably painted during Belcher's 1729-1730 London trip before being installed as royal governor of Massachusetts. As a Massachusetts governor, it is likely that Belcher was expected to have his portrait painted; Belcher was not happy when his son, who was at the time a student in London, engaged Faber to engrave the mezzotint that was published in London in 1734, which Belcher Sr. was concerned would likely bring criticism and jealousy.

The portrait depicts Belcher as a model of aristocratic gentility and state authority. The subject holds his government commission and is positioned with Boston harbor in the background with a British naval ship firing its cannon in salute. Belcher is wearing a long periwig with lavish curls, a velvet waistcoat with gold brocade, and a fine lace jabot. In the lower-right corner, the seal of King George II seems suspended from the hand holding the commission.

Date: 1734

Measurement: Frame: 14" x 18.75"; view: 14.25" x 10.25"

Material: Paper and ink

Condition: Excellent; framed by Perry Hopf


SKU: 935-30

For More Information, Please Contact David Hillier at 978-597-8084 or email

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