John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) is known for his painted portraits of colonial Americans (oils, pastels, and miniatures) and his English history pictures, but the relationship between Copley and prints is relatively obscure. Yet he was involved with prints throughout his career and beyond, from his earliest exposure to art in the Boston studio of his stepfather to the sale four years after his death of his collection of around 1,125 prints by and after old master and contemporary artists, and many engravings after his own paintings. 


Figure 1.
Graphic Encounters: John Singleton Copley and the World of Prints, Conversation between Jules Prown and Mark Hallett.

Film by Jonathan Law.

About the authors

  • Head and shoulders portrait of Jules Prown

    Jules David Prown, a graduate of Lafayette College and of the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture (University of Delaware), received his doctorate from Harvard University. He has been a member of the faculty of the Department of the History of Art at Yale University since 1961 and is currently the Paul Mellon Professor Emeritus of the History of Art. During this period he has also been Curator of American Art at the Yale University Art Gallery and the founding Director of the Yale Center for British Art. He has received numerous professional and other honours including the Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award from the College Art Association of America (1995), Yale’s William Clyde DeVane Award for teaching and scholarship, and Distinguished Scholar at the 2010 College Art Association Annual Conference.

  • paulmellon-day021091-1-1

    Mark Hallett is Märit Rausing Director at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Between 2012 and 2023 he was Director of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Prior to taking up that position, Mark worked in the History of Art department at the University of York. Appointed as lecturer in 1994, he became a professor in 2006 and was Head of Department between 2007 and 2012.

    Mark’s scholarly research has focused on British art from the seventeenth century onwards. Books he has written and edited include The Spectacle of Difference: Graphic Satire in the Age of Hogarth (Yale University Press, 1999); Hogarth (Phaidon Press, 2000); Eighteenth Century York: Culture, Space and Society (edited with Jane Rendall, Borthwick Institute, 2003); Faces in a Library: Sir Joshua Reynolds's 'Streatham Worthies' (The Watson Gordon Lecture 2011, National Galleries of Scotland, 2012); Living with the Royal Academy: Artistic ideals and Experiences in England, 1769–1848 (edited with Sarah Monks and John Barrell Ashgate, 2013); Reynolds: Portraiture in Action (Yale University Press, 2014); and Court, Country, City: British Art and Architecture, 1660–1735 (edited with Nigel Llewellyn and Martin Myrone, Yale University Press, 2016). He also co-edited the major online publication, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018 (Paul Mellon Centre, 2018).

    Mark has also been involved in curating numerous exhibitions. He co-curated the 2007 Tate Britain exhibition Hogarth and co-authored the accompanying catalogue with Christine Riding; he co-curated the 2011 York Art Gallery exhibition William Etty: Art and Controversy and co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Sarah Burnage and Laura Turner; he co-curated the 2015 Wallace Collection exhibition Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint and co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Lucy Davis. With his PMC colleague Sarah Victoria Turner, he curated the 2018 Royal Academy exhibition, The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition, and co-authored the accompanying catalogue. He curated George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field, which opened at the Yale Center for British Art in October 2018, before travelling to the Holburne Museum, Bath, in February 2019. With Zuzana Flaskova and Rosie Ram, he co-curated the 2019-20 Tate Britain Spotlight Display Vital Fragments: Nigel Henderson and the Art of Collage, for which he also co-wrote a series of short films on Henderson’s collage-work Screen.

    Mark has been the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and a Paul Mellon Centre Senior Fellowship. He was a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge (2013–14) and a Visiting Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2014–16). He gave the British Academy’s ‘Aspects of Art’ lecture for 2019, titled ‘The Newspaper Man: Michael Andrews and the Art of Painted Collage’.


Jules Prown, Mark Hallett
04 April 2016
Audio-Visual Conversation
Review status
Not Peer Reviewed
CC BY-NC International 4.0
PDF format
Article DOI
Cite as
Jules Prown, Mark Hallett, "John Singleton Copley and the World of Prints", British Art Studies, Issue 2,