John Goffe Rand papers, circa 1832-1960, bulk 1832-1873
The papers of John Goffe Rand in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2010. The papers have been scanned in their entirety and total 112 images.
John Goffe Rand (1801-1873) lived and worked in Boston, London, and New York as a portrait painter and inventor. Rand invented and patented the first collapsible artist's paint tube.
Rand was born in 1801 in Bedford, New Hampshire. As a young man, he worked as an apprentice to a cabinet maker. Although he showed talent, Rand chose to paint houses and signs and found that he excelled at portraiture. Discovered and encouraged by Samuel F. B. Morse, he moved to Boston and by 1828 established his own studio. While temporarly in Charleston, South Carolina, Rand met Miss Lavinia Brainerd whom he later married.
Shortly after their wedding, Lavinia and John Rand travelled to London where John continued to paint portraits. Among those whom he painted were members of the royal family and other figures in the English nobility including Lord Bexley, the Duke and Duchess of Inverness, and the Duke of Sussex.
While in London, Rand invented a collapsible paint tube made of tin for storing artists' mixed oil paints. Prior to this advancement, painters generally mixed pigments with oil in small amounts and stored the extra paint in animal bladders. The tin tube allowed unused paint to be stored and used later without drying out. In 1841, Rand patented the invention with the United States Patent Office. He went on to patent several later improvements. Other later inventions, however, were not as widely received, and most of his ideas were not financially successful.
Upon returning to the United States, John Rand and his wife settled on Long Island where he continued his career in painting portraits. The artist died in 1873.
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