signature and date: lower left: "R. Earl pinx't 1789"
A native of Ireland, Gilliland enlisted as a young man in the British army. By 1754 he was already in the Colonies, serving in the French and Indian Wars. A few years later he established himself as a merchant in New York and began to purchase real estate, acquiring enormous acreage in Vermont where he established a settlement called Milltown. This portrait was painted in New York presumably while the artist was in debtor's prison.
Bequest of Mrs. Charlotte E. Draper
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
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New-York Historical Society
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