1750 Cobbler

1750 Cobbler

Merrill Coffin’s ‘1750 Cobbler’ painting offers a captivating glimpse into the daily life of a colonial village during the mid-18th century. The canvas is alive with vibrant details, capturing the essence of the era with meticulous attention to architectural and human elements.

On the left side of the composition, two pristine white houses with black shutters stand, their colonial charm exuding a sense of simplicity and elegance. The right side features another white house with black shutters, proudly displaying a prominent sign indicating the presence of a cobbler, firmly rooted in the year 1750. This specific detail adds historical context to the scene, anchoring it in a particular period.

A yellow carriage occupies the foreground, drawing attention to the central activity of the painting. Seated inside the carriage, a man engages in conversation with another individual, likely the cobbler, emphasizing the close-knit nature of the community. The man holds a white piece of paper, hinting at the exchange of information or perhaps a business transaction.

Preliminary Sketch of the piece

In the foreground, three children joyfully play, providing a charming contrast to the more formal interactions taking place in the carriage. Meanwhile, finely dressed parents observe their children’s activities, reflecting the societal values and emphasis on family life during the colonial period.

Beneath the carriage, a brick road weaves its way through the scene, connecting the various elements of the village. The inclusion of the brick road enhances the historical authenticity of the setting, as such roads were common in colonial towns.

The middle background features a steeple rising against the sky, with two small stained-glass windows partially visible. This architectural detail adds a touch of spirituality to the scene, suggesting the presence of a church or meeting house central to the community’s life.

Overall, Merrill Coffin’s ‘1750 Cobbler’ painting masterfully captures the nuances of colonial village existence, offering viewers a nostalgic journey back in time through its detailed portrayal of architecture, social interactions, and the daily activities that shaped the fabric of community life in the 18th century.


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