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Colonel William Williams (1788-1850)

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Jarvis was a prolific portraitist in New York state when Gilbert Stuart, John Vanderlyn, Samuel Morse (to whom this portrait has been attributed) and Jarvis himself were painting idealized likenesses during America's golden age of portraiture. Jarvis painted Williams in a simplified version of the Neoclassical style popularized by Jacques Louis David in France. Jarvis present Williams' head and upper body in a clear directly lighted manner against a neutral ground, depicting William, a Utica, NY, printer and editor, as "a very handsome man, faultless in his attire and whole make-up, hair in rich curls, hands, nails, and whole person immaculate," as a contemporary described him. Williams touches his red pen case, emblematic of his profession as an editor.