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Portrait of Daniel Barraud

Origin: America, Virginia, Norfolk
Overall (unframed): 29 1/2 x 24 7/8in. (74.9 x 63.2cm)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Benjamin Baker
Acc. No. 2016-111
A half-length portrait of a middle-aged man turned slightly to the viewer’s right. He wears a brown suit with a white stock and ruffled sleeves peeking out. The coat and waistcoat are accented by brown, subtly shimmering buttons of graduated sizes. His brown hair is cropped in a feathered line along his lightly lined forehead, with long side and back tresses that curl up above his ears. The eyes are blue with pronounced white highlights. The sitter is placed in front of a softly modeled brown background and framed within painted brown-grey spandrels in the foreground. In his proper left hand he holds an unfolded letter from London dated July 28, 1774. The remaining text is largely illegible.
Label:After decades apart, the John Durand's ca 1770-1774 portraits of Daniel and Catherine Curle Barraud have been reunited as part of the Colonial Williamsburg collection. Daniel Barraud was born to Phillip and Frances Barraud of Greenwich, England in 1725, and he immigrated to the North American colonies as a young man. He married Catherine Curle of Curle’s Point, Elizabeth City County, Virginia on December 4, 1752. Daniel partnered with James Balfour of Norfolk on a mercantile enterprise, Barraud & Balfour. The firm’s first advertisement in the Virginia Gazette appeared June 13, 1766.

Just four years later, on June 20th, 1770, Daniel Barraud joined other merchants and members of the House of Burgesses in support of a non-importation act. This boycott of certain British goods was intended as a protest against the taxation of the colonies without adequate representation. Several of Barraud's fellow signers of the non-importation act that were the subject of other portraits attributed to Durand, including George Purdie, Thomas Newton, Roger Atkinson, and J.H. Norton.

The Daniel Barraud portrait by John Durand captures a man on the rise, unaware of his impending misfortunes. The unexpected death of his business partner, James Balfour, in April of 1775 was a blow to Barraud’s economic fortunes. Debts went unpaid, including a massive purchase of wheat from George Washington.

Given the arc of John Durand’s career, from his immigration to the colonies around 1766-1767, to his first known Virginia portrait (1768) to the post 1782 void, the portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Barraud fall roughly in the middle, during his active travels between Virginia and Connecticut. Durand was familiar with British precedents for composition and poses, and the Barraud portraits display these elements. From the use of an oval surround, to the letter in Mr. Barraud’s carefully positioned hand, to the pearls and flowers ornamenting Mrs. Barraud’s ensemble, Durand followed the established format to express the genteel refinement and success of his sitters.
Provenance:Although not documented, the portrait appears to have passed to son Philip Barraud (1757-1830), then to his daughter Lelianna (Lelia) Anne Barraud Baker (1805-1893), the youngest child of Philip and wife of Richard. H. Baker. The portrait continued through the Baker line, likely from Lelianna Baker to Richard Henry Baker (1826-1911), to Benjamin May Baker (1865-1934), then to Dr. Benjamin May Baker (1901-2003). It was donated by his son, Benjamin M. Baker, along with the portrait of Dr. Philip Barraud (2016-112) in 2016.