James Arbuckle (ca. 1730-1785)

Date: 1766

The artist, Charles Willson Peale, lived with the Arbuckle family at their home at Custis Neck in Accomack County for about six months in 1766. In Peale’s Autobiography, he wrote, “Mr. Arbuckle was a Man of kind & Generous disposition. He had his own, his Ladys and Childs portraits done immediately. and his having an Ingenous turn of mind, they lived happily togather for 6 months. The congeniality of their Sentiments; their alike fondness for Mechanicks; for arts, & for Musick, gave them ample food for their active minds…” James Arbuckle was married to Tabitha Scarborough Custis.

Dimensions: 47 1/2 x 36 in. (120.65 x 91.44 cm.)

The portrait represents a man seated in wooden chair with green upholstery against a plain background. He wears dark brown suit and holds open a book, James Thomson’s Seasons, so that a poem’s title “Summer” is visible. He is turned three-quarters to his left, his left arm resting on the arm of the chair.

See: Peale’s Autobiography, in Lillian Miller, ed., Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and his Family, V (1983): 24; Charles Coleman Sellers, “Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 42 (1952): 24; FARL

Family: Arbuckle
Decade: 1760s
Credits: Private collection. Photograph by Ira W. Martin, courtesy of the Frick Art Reference Library.