American, Boston - Clayton Johns, about 1888

American, Boston

Clayton Johns, about 1888

Albumen print , 13.8 x 21.5 cm (5 7/16 x 8 7/16 in.)


Composer-pianist Clayton Johns (1857-1932) was one of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s closest friends as well as the beneficiary of her patronage. Gardner actively cultivated the reputations of local musicians like Johns, whom she engaged for many recitals at her homes and museum. While he never gained fame beyond her circle, Johns remained a vital figure within her musical world. Gardner collected several photographs of him, including this portrait of the composer presumably in his Beacon Hill parlor on Mount Vernon Street —a room replete with the comforts of a late 19th century bachelor’s pad.