Man Reading a Newspaper
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John Plumbe, Jr.
American, about 1842
3 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.

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The well-dressed man in cravat and top hat appears to be reading the Philadelphia Ledger newspaper that he holds in his hands, but his fixed gaze falls somewhere above the paper, at a point outside of the frame. A sliver of windowsill visible at the left indicates that the source of light was a window, which admitted sunlight to illuminate the scene and cast a harsh light against the side of the man's stern face. Scholars have suggested that the sitter is a publisher and that therefore this is a kind of occupational portrait, but no pictorial evidence within the frame positively links him to a particular occupation.