Clergyman's Portrait Given Anonymously to University
Rare Mezzotint of William Cooper May Be Hung in Eliot
The portrait of a Boston clergyman who declined the presidency of Harvard College in 1737, the Reverend William Cooper, was acquired this week by Harvard University from an anonymous donor. The portrait is one of the rarest and most valuable mezzotint engravings of early New England clergymen, and was made in 1743 by Peter Pelham, copied from an oil painting by John Smibert.
University officials have not decided where the engraving will be hung. A portrait of the Reverend Cooper's son, the Reverend Samuel Cooper, painted by John Singleton Copley, was given to the College many years ago, and is now hanging in Eliot House. Like his father, the Reverend Samuel Cooper was offered the presidency of Harvard and declined.