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This beautifully illustrated volume presents the complex ways in which the lives of artists, clients, and sitters were interconnected in the early American South. During this period, paintings included not only portraits, but also seascapes, landscapes, and pictures made by explorers and naturalists. The first comprehensive study of this subject, "Painters and Paintings in the Early American South" draws upon materials including diaries, correspondence, and newspapers in order to explore the stylistic trends of the period and the lives of the sitters, as gentility spread from the wealthiest southerners to the middle class. Featuring works by John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, and Benjamin West, among many others, this important book examines the training and status of painters, the distinction between fine art and the mechanical arts, the popularity of portraiture, and the nature of clientele between 1540 and 1790, providing a new, critical understanding of the history of art in the American South.