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American Paintings and Sculpture
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist, attributed to: Richard Crosse, English, 1743–1810
Subject: Peter Oliver, American, 1741–1821

Peter Oliver (1741–1821)

after 1776

Watercolor on ivory

1 1/2 × 1 1/4 in. (3.8 × 3.2 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Fund

This portrait of Peter Oliver is part of a pair with his wife, Sarah Hutchinson (1955.5.4). Oliver, the nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Oliver, was a doctor who practiced in Middleborough, Massachusetts. He fell in love with Sarah, the daughter of Massachusetts governor Thomas Hutchinson and the sister of his Harvard roommate. The courtship lasted four and a half years, so that “we had Time enough to be acquainted with one another. A more agreable and better behaved young Lady there was not in the Country—None of our young Ladies were more admired than she was by all Ranks.” They were married in 1770.

In 1775, the British loyalist Oliver and Hutchinson families were caught in political turmoil. The young couple was driven by a mob of American patriots from their country home into Boston. Dr. Oliver and his wife emigrated to England in 1776. He reported that “I think I never was so rejoiced in any thing as setting feet on Old England in my life; from being a mere skeleton, in one month I am fatter than I ever was.”

Made in London, England
Not on view
18th century
Miniatures - Jewelry
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 such records is ongoing.