Billy Emerson


John Brewster (1766–1845)


about 1810


Oil on canvas laid down on panel


29 1/2 x 24 13/16 in. (75 x 63 cm)


Born deaf and mute to a respected physician in Connecticut, John Brewster began his study of painting in adulthood with a provincial master. Brewster eventually became a successful portraitist and is today acknowledged as one of the most gifted of the early New England itinerant painters.

Billy Emerson (1765–1835) of Topsfield, Massachusetts, was a merchant and extensive property owner, and this portrait captures his charming bravado. Portraits by Brewster of Emerson’s parents, are also in the Athenæum’s collection.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Douwe Yntema in honor of her aunt, Miss Ester B. Proctor, 1988

Object Number