Sophia Drake (1774). Ralph Earl (American, 1751-1801). Private collection. Oil on canvas.
Earl was an itinerant artist who painted at least 183 portraits and six landscapes, including a panorama of Niagara Falls. He studied in London with Benjamin West and exhibited at the Royal Academy. His drawing improved considerably, his compositions became more complex, and his use of color became more sophisticated. He introduced landscapes and complex interiors into the backgrounds of his portraits that would become signature features of his later American work.