Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Joseph Whiting Stock (United States, 1815-55)

Figure 1.--J.W. Stock probably painted this boy inthe 1840s, presumably in Massachusetts. Notice the frilly dress and elaborate pantalettes.


I have virtually no information on Joseph Whiting Stock, other than he was a American primitive artist from Massachusetts who painted from about 1835-55.

The Portrait

This portrait is attributed to Stock, but it is often difficult to determine with certainty who the various American primitive artists are.

HBC has no information on who the boy is or his age. The portrait was owned by the family of Massachusettes Senator Murray Crane, so it may have been a member of his family. The fancy dress and pantalettes suggest that the boy came from a well to do family. Clearly this boy's mother had the time and money to devote considerable attention to his attire. Also notice the boy's distinctive red hair.

The Fashions

The boy wears a dress as was common for young boys at the time. It is difficult to estimate the boy's age, but I would guess he is about 5 years old. The dress has short sleeves with frilled ruffles at the elbow and ribbions decorating the shoulders.

Notice the elaborate frills on both the dress and pantalettes which cover the boy down to his ankles. Not all boys, or girls for that matter, wore such elaborately frilled pantalettes. See for example another American primitive artist: E.W. Blake.

I'm not sure when the portrait was painted, but I believe the 1840s. Also notice the pendant he is wearing and the book and rose he is holding.


I have found no good sources on Stock yet.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: June 23, 1999
Last updated: June 23, 1999