Otis House

Portrait of Harrison Gray Otis

This portrait of Harrison Gray Otis (1765-1848) painted by famed Federal period portraitist Gilbert Stuart, was completed in 1809. At the time, Otis was President of the Massachusetts State Senate.

Otis is depicted as a busy and prosperous gentleman, wearing a fur-trimmed dressing gown, his finger holding his place in a book while a desk with papers, books, and a writing quill appear in the background.

Gilbert Stuart (1765-1828) was one of the most popular artists in the United States during the Federal period and is most famous for this portraits of George Washington. Stuart was born in Rhode Island but received his training in London under the tutelage of famous American expatriate artist Benjamin West. Stuart eventually returned to the United States, spending time in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, D.C. before settling in Boston in 1805. Stuart’s portraits were incredibly in demand and his clients were the political and social elite of the era. Stuart painted a companion portrait of Sally Foster Otis the same year as this portrait, which is currently on display at the Renolyda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Both portraits were likely on display at the couple’s home on 45 Beacon Street, where they moved in 1806.

Gilbert Stuart (1765-1828), painter

Boston, 1809

Oil paint on canvas