Prior Portrait of Child with Mug

American, c. 1840.  
An unusually expressive portrait of a young child holding a mug. Attributed to William Matthew Prior.
Oil on academy board in excellent condition; in period but not original frame.
10 ¼” x 14 ¾” (sight); 14 ½” x 17 ¼” (framed).  

Unlike most primitive portraits of children by Prior, this painting truly conveys a sense of the sitter and the emotion this child is feeling at being made to sit for this portrait. The expression on his face is that of a young child feeling both impatience and resignation… a wish for this “sitting" to be over.