John Brewster, Jr., is acknowledged as one of the most gifted of the early New England itinerant painters. He was born, a deaf mute, in Hampton, Connecticut, and was educated to overcome his handicap. His situation may have heightened his perceptions: Brewster's subjects are portrayed with unusual honesty and strength. At 25, he began studies with a local portraitist. He probably also saw the paintings of other Connecticut artists like John Trumbull and Ralph Earl; but he seems to have developed his own style after only brief training. Undaunted by his inability to hear and speak, he traveled in Connecticut, New York, Massachusettes, New Hampshire and Maine doing portraits and was consistently well received.