Edward Darley Boit
(1840-1915) “ was an ideal patron, a man quivering on the outskirts of art who encouraged John by the sheer force of his administration. He was, down to his toes, a Bostonian – Boston Latin School, Harvard, Secretary of Hasty Pudding, Freshman crew, tall, poetic, athletic, confident, and rich (richer still for having married a Cushing – Charlotte Louisa, known as “Iza” – the only daughter of a vastly wealthy merchant whose estate “Belmont” gave the town its name) – with a very curious difference. In 1868 he saw the work of Corot, and at that instant discovered painting in a blinding flash and spent the rest of his life in service to that revelation… John liked them (the Boits) for somewhat more basic, straightforward reasons. They were educated. They were musical, and also ardent Wagnerians. They were agreeably uncomplicated, and Edward Boit’s order for a group portrait of his young daughters interested John a great deal.” (John Singer Sargent. His Portrait.
by Stanley Olson.
Macmillan London Ltd. 1986. p 97)
The Daughters of Edward D. Boit: Jane, aged twelve, stands facing forward; Florence, aged fourteen, is immediately to her right, in profile looking left, her hands folded in front; Mary, aged eight, is next to Florence, her arms clasped behind her back; Julia, aged four, is sitting, playing with a doll. See: John Singer Sargent. The Daughters of Edward D. Boit.