"The Westwood Children"

"The Westwood Children"

Joshua Johnson, The Westwood Children, ca. 1807 (National Gallery of Art) 


Bryan, Jennifer and Robert Torchia. "The Mysterious Portraitist Joshua Johnson" Archives of American Art Journal, 36.2 (1996): 2-7.

Calvert, Karin. Children in House: The Material Culture of Early Childhood, 1600-1900. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992.

Phillips, Christopher. Freedman's Port: The African American Community in Baltimore, 1790-1860.University of Illinois Press, 1997.

Richardson, Edgar et al., Charles Willson Peale and His World. Abrams, 1983.

Weekley, Carolyn et al., Joshua Johnson: Freeman and Early American Portrait Painter. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1987.

Whitman, T. Stephen. The Price of Freedom: Slavery and Manumission in Baltimore and Early National Period. University Press of Kentucky, 1997.


1. Joshua Johnson was a free African American working in Baltimore. Discuss the African American community in Baltimore.

2. Frederick Douglass spent part of his enslaved life in Baltimore and writes about it in his published works. Compare and contrast Douglass's depiction of artisan life in Baltimore with the depiction presented in Whitman's and Phillips's books above.

3. The Westwood Children is one of many portraits painted by Johnson of or including children. Discuss the representation of children in southern portraits in the 18th and 19th centuries and how this relates to what we know about childhood during the period.

4. Compare the body of Johnson's portraits to those produced by Charles Willson Peale. What do the differences between these suggest about the differences in representing middling and elite classes?

"The Westwood Children"