Cosmo Alexander (1724-1772)

Portrait painter Cosmo Alexander was born in Scotland in 1724. As the son of a well-known Scottish portrait painter, he gained recognition as a portraitist in Italy, Holland, and England before coming to America in 1766. In the colonies he focused on the Scottish community, moving often from town to town to find available sitters. He painted in and around Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. In Burlington, New Jersey, he lived in the governor’s mansion and received many patrons there. In Newport he was met with interest by the town’s prominent citizens. It was there that he met fourteen-year-old Gilbert Stuart and was convinced by a local physician to take young Stuart as an apprentice. The pair traveled south in 1771, visiting Williamsburg and Charleston before departing for Edinburgh, where Alexander died suddenly on August 25, 1772. Over twenty-five American portraits have been identified. His works are owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County, Hunter House Collection, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Portrait of a Man with Tricorn Hat

by Cosmo Alexander (1724-1772)

Medium DetailOil on canvas
Dimensions30 x 25 inches
Signed LocationUnsigned
ProvenancePrivate Collection, Washington DC

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