Brown (1761-1831), born in Boston, descended from Cotton and Increase Mather. He started studying under Gilbert Stuart at the age of twelve, then Benjamin Franklin gave him a letter of recommendation for further studies with Benjamin West in London (1781). West and possibly James Barry strongly urged Brown to pursue history painting. In 1782 he was admitted as a student to the Royal Academy where he exhibited Portrait of a Gentleman that year and four paintings in the following year. His earliest known painting is Girl at a Harpsichord (1782; Glasgow Art Gallery), which is still harsh and amateurish. By 1784 Brown had his own studio and that year he executed Christ in the
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