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Joseph Whiting Stock

Joseph Whiting Stock was a nineteenth-century portrait painter in the New England area. He was born on January 30, 1815, in Springfield, Massachusetts during the War of 1812. At the age of 6, he had an oxcart fall on him, paralyzing him from the waist down, rendering him a paraplegic. In 1832, Stock began training to be an artist as a way to make a living, taking instruction from Franklin White, a pupil of Chester Harding (1792-1866). Two years later, he received his first commission from Dr. James Swan to create anatomical drawings and who also built him a wheelchair to make his travel easier. Following this commission and his new found mobility, he was able to visit neighboring towns to accept more work.

After a major life-threatening hip surgery in 1839, Stock began to travel all over the New England area, never settling in one town for more than a year. He created full length portraits of children and half-length portraits of adults with the occasional landscape, miniatures or genre scenes. Before his death from tuberculosis in 1855, Joseph Stock painted over 1,000 paintings, keeping lengthy details of his life as a wandering artist and his work in his personal journal.

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