The Harvard Gazette interviews Jane Kamensky, author of a new biography of John Singleton Copley (you know, as in the Square), who actually left Boston for England in 1774 and never returned. She discusses that famous painting of the kid who looks like he's about to be eaten by a shark:
Brook Watson had been a merchant’s boy, probably a cabin boy at first and then an Atlantic coastal merchant, spending time in the waters of Havana where this happened to him in the 1740s. He was swimming and was flayed and nearly drowned. The incident allowed Copley to paint something that was incredibly suspenseful and that was exhibited at an incredible moment of national suspense about the fate of Britain.