[1771 Autograph Letter Signed by Shrimpton Hutchinson on receiving American artist Benjamin West’s letter and his daughter’s education].
“She Dances Country Dances very well & a minuet tolerably…”
Letter written by Bostonian Shrimpton Hutchinson to his brother-in-law, Godfrey Malbone of Pomfret, Connecticut. Hutchinson was a cousin of Thomas Hutchinson, the last Royal Governor of Massachusetts. Of his daughter’s education, he writes:
My daughter Katy [Catherine Hutchinson (1757–1844), later wife of Col. Daniel Putnam] has been now upwards of nine months at Mrs. Harding’s & I believe her time cou’d not have been more profitably employ’d she has attended three schools. Working Dancing & writing in the firsts has so much improved that her Aunt Lloyd & Mistress says she works very neat. She Dances Country Dances very well & a minuet tolerably. Her Master says he shall make a good Dancer of her. I wish He cou’d give her a Better air she does not walk well. Her Improvement in writing you shall see by Billy Temple upon the whole. I hope she will at least answer your expectations in sending her to Boston. Great pansies taken to make her neat in her person & carefull of her apparell & methodical in the matters she has of her own under her care wch. is strictly required from all young Ladies at Mrs. Harding’s & in this particular she is much minded tho’ not quite perfect yet.
The talents of Hutchinson’s son, Shrimpton Jr., came the attention of the American expatriate Benjamin West (1738–1820), historical painter to King George III. The previous summer, Hutchinson had received a letter from West and had written to painter John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) about his son.¹ Hutchinson writes of his son’s endeavors:
Shrimpton makes a great progress in his Drawing & I hope will make a Painter of some Eminence in time. I have lately a letter from Mr. West The first Painter in England expressed in the kindest Terms & the method pointed out for his improvement wch. I shall pursue. I sent by Mr. Temple [mentioned by name in West’s letter] several of Shrimpton’s Performances.
Hutchinson’s letter was delivered by a Rev. Mr. Mosely, a preacher in Pomfret, to his recipient.
Description: [1771 Autograph Letter Signed by Shrimpton Hutchinson on receiving American artist Benjamin West’s letter and his daughter’s education].
Boston [Massachusetts]. September 8, 1771. pp. Bifolium; red wax seal. Laid paper with watermark of “L.V. Gerrevink.”Folds; rectangular paper loss to integral address leaf, not text affected; very good.
Note 1. Letters & Papers of John Singleton Copley and Henry Pelham 1739–1776 ([Boston], 1914), pp118–119 and 143–144).