<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
John Singleton Copley, 1738–1815

General Thomas Gage

ca. 1768
Oil on canvas mounted on masonite
50 x 39 3/4 inches (127 x 101 cm)

Inscribed in yellow paint, lower right: "GENERAL THE HONBLE THOS GAGE | OBT"

Dated in yellow paint, lower right: "1788"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
costume | curtain | flags | general | gesture | landscape | man | mountain | portrait | soldiers | uniform
Associated People:
Gage, Thomas (1719/20–1787), army officer and colonial governor
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

John Singleton Copley painted this portrait of Thomas Gage in about 1768, when Gage was visiting Boston from his headquarters in New York. Gage was commander in chief of the British forces in North America and had begun stationing troops in American towns to quell unrest following outrage over the Stamp Act of 1765. Gage was in Boston with direct orders from George III to calm tensions over quartering soldiers in private residences. Copley represents him in full command, gesturing to soldiers performing orderly drills in the background. When finished, the portrait was displayed prominently in Gage’s New York house on Broad Street. It was Gage who ordered the fateful march on Concord in 1775 to seize the arms and powder of the local militia, which led to the skirmish at Lexington and the “shot heard round the world” that marked the opening hostilities of the American Revolutionary War.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Hidden in Plain Sight - Revealing the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould (The Peabody Essex Museum, 2014-11-08 - 2015-03-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Singleton Copley's America (Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 1996-06-07 - 1995-08-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Singleton Copley's America (Milwaukee Art Museum, 1996-05-22 - 1996-08-25) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Singleton Copley's America (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1996-02-04 - 1996-04-28) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Singleton Copley's America (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995-09-19 - 1996-01-07) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Martial Face - The Military Portrait in Britain 1760-1900 (Bell Art Gallery, 1991-01-26 - 1991-03-03) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

John Singleton Copley (Timken Museum of Art, 1985-02-10 - 1985-03-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Richard H. Brown, Revolution : mapping the road to American independence 1755-1783, W. W. Norton & Co, New York, 2015, p. 54, fig. 26, Folio G1201.S26 B76 2015 (LC) (SML) [ORBIS]

Christopher Bryant, A new light on John Singleton Copley's portraits of Major General the Honourable Thomas Gage and Samuel Adams, 2014 ?, pp. 1-18, V 2520 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 68-69, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 10, ND466 G67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Kemble Widmer, In Plain Sight : Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould, The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, 2014, pp. 18, 64 fn 25, fig. 4 (In Plain Sight), NK2439.G68 +A4 2014 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.