Comfort Starr Mygatt (1763–1823) and Lucy Mygatt (1794–1885) Artist: John Brewster, Jr. (American, 1766–1854)


American Paintings and Sculpture

On view, 2nd floor, American Art before 1900

The portraits by the itinerant deaf artist John Brewster open a window into the lives of New England’s merchant class. Here, the prosperous Danbury, Connecticut, shopkeeper, silversmith, and watchmaker Comfort Starr Mygatt poses with his five-year-old daughter, Lucy. The heart of the painting lies in their barely touching fingers. Stripping the scene of inessential detail, Brewster focuses attention on the unspoken bond between the relaxed father and the solemn little girl raising her hand to touch him. The emotion inherent in the gesture transcends the specifics of time and place.


Oil on canvas


54 × 39 1/2 in. (137.2 × 100.3 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Jane and Gerald Katcher, LL.B. 1950

Accession Number



18th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Dr. Jane Katcher and Gerald Katcher; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 2007
  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 35, 104–5, no. 44, ill
  • "Acquisitions, July 1, 2007–June 30, 2008," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2008), 180, ill
  • Art for Yale: Collecting for a New Century, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2007), 31, 348, pl. 1
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

figures (representations), human figures (visual works), portraits


Inscribed on the reverse: "Comfort Starr Mygatt, B. Aug 23, 1763, D. Oct. 17, 1823, Lucy Mygatt Adams, July 23, 1794-Mch 8, 1885."


Signed and dated lower right in red paint, "March 1st 1799/John Brewster, pinxt."

Technical metadata and APIs


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