Eustis Estate

Portrait of an Upholsterer

Franciscus Reinerus Hubertus Cuypers (1820–1866)
Boston, 1852
Oil on canvas
46 x 41 ½ in.
Museum purchase

Upholstery has always been a labor-intensive trade requiring highly skilled craftsmanship. This man is doing the work typical of a custom shop, using high-quality materials, traditional techniques, and the same tools that upholsterers had used for centuries. While we have not discovered the figure’s identity, he appears to be someone who was proud of his trade. Clearly he had succeeded to such a degree that he could afford to commission a costly portrait.