John Hesselius

John Hesselius (1728-1778) signed his earliest known painting, the portrait of Milicent Conway Gordon, in 1750. He returned to Virginia many times through at least 1771 when he dated the portrait of Ann Fitzhugh Rose. Signed paintings date to 1750, 1751, 1755, 1765, 1767, 1770, and 1771. John Hesselius worked mostly in Virginia and Maryland. His father was Gustavus Hesselius (1682-1755), another portrait painter who painted mostly in Maryland and Pennsylvania. It seems likely that Gustavus Hesselius was John Hesselius’s first instructor. John Hesselius also studied with Robert Feke and his early portraits are stylistically similar to Feke’s.