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David Claypoole Johnston

Johnston's Theatrical Portraits



After moving to Boston and working in the theatre, he gave up acting to pursue his career as an artist. Some of his first work in Boston consisted of producing portraits of many of the most well known actors of the time, usually capturing the actors in the characters that they played on stage. Seen here is a watercolor sketch of an unidentified actor.





In most cases, he would start by doing a quick watercolor sketch of the actors, which he would then turn into a print that he could sell for profit. Seen here is a watercolor sketch of Mr. Finn as Dr. Logic, 1825.


It is important to note that he only produced portraits of serious actors. He saved his portrayals of secondary entertainers for his satirical caricatures. He continued to create theatre portraits until the late 1830's. This is a lithograph created by Johnston for Pendleton's Lithography, titled Paul Pry and Col Hardy As Represented by Mr. Finn and Mr. Kilner.




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Johnston's Satirical Influence Johnston's Five States Johnston's Watercolors Johnston's Drawings Johnston's Theatrical Influence Johnston's Political Influence Johnston's Publications Acknowledgements Bibliography Collection