A portrait miniature of Charles Paxton (1707-1788)

Dimensions 3.50cm high   
Description Charles Paxton was an American Loyalist, born in 1704 and was Customs Surveyor and Marshall of the Vice Admiralty Court in Boston, Massachusetts, a thankless job that involved searching ships for
contraband and pressuring his neighbours to pay the customs duties set by Parliament. The town of Paxton, Mass. was named for him in 1765. As a result, Paxton, who was perceived as living in luxury and currying favour with the British, was immensely unpopular in Boston.

He was a life-long friend of Charles Townshend, the British Chancellor, and was appointed a Commissioner of the American Board of Customs, established in Boston in 1767. The creation of the new Board had been the result of the Commissioner of Customs Act. It was the Townshend Act that was designed to enforce trade and tariff laws in the North American colonies. Before this Board existed, most customs offices did their work in London.

However, by February 1768, he sought help from his superior in England, writing: 'Tis the opinion of the wisest men here that unless we have immediatelythree or four men of rank and at least one Regiment every thing will be in the greatest confusion and

As a controversial tax official, he was often attacked by mobs and was hung in effigy on the Liberty Tree in Boston. His request for British soldiers to be sent to Boston is regarded as one of the earliest actions leading to the Boston Massacre in 1770 and Tea Party in 1773, eventually paving the way for the American Revolution. After being evacuated with fellow Loyalists from Boston in 1776, he settled in England and died there in 1788.

Richard Collins studied enamel-painting with Jeremias Meyer. In 1777, he exhibited some portraits at the Royal Academy.He shared with Richard Cosway and Samuel Shelley the fashionable sitters of the day, and in 1789, was appointed principal portrait-painter in enamel to George III. He executed some fine miniature portraits of the royal family. Having acquired a comfortable income by his art, he left London in 1811, and retired at Pershore, Worcestershire, resigning his post in the royal service
Provenance Sotheby's, Bond Street, London, 30 May 1977, lot 63.
Ex. Christie's, March 1985, lot 298.
Literature Charles Paxton to Charles Townsend, February 24, 1768, Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society
56 (June 1923): 349. This volume of the Proceedings contains transcripts of several Paxton letters.
Medium watercolour on ivory
Condition Good
Ref No. 5267
Price £2000.00
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