When determining if a portrait is in fact done by our master Gilbert Stuart, particularly when it is not mentioned in the Lawrence Park volumes (a set of 4 large books two of which provide black and white photographs of the portraits and two which give written descriptions and short bios), it helps to cement the attribution when the evidence piles up.
On April 27 I did a post on the individual Ruggles Whiting [click on this link], a writer [Elisha L. President Dover Historical society] wrote to me that he thought this portrait was a genuine Stuart. I also thought it to be a genuine Stuart.
Elisha points out that this will indicates that Ruggles owned another Stuart, and indeed a third Stuart. From the will: "“It is my will and I give and bequeath to the Government of the United States, my original portrait of Jacob Perkins Esquire of Newburyport, the great mechanical inventor, taken by Gilbert Stuart Esq. the celebrated American artist, to be placed in such part of the National Buildings, in the City of Washington, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States for the time being shall order and direct.”
Thus there should be a Stuart portrait of "Ralph Reed", and of "Jacob Perkins". I will investigate this further~
The fact that Ruggles now seems to own THREE Stuart portraits, also is indirect evidence that the Ruggles portrait is a genuine Stuart, as Elisha pointed out in his note to me.
Thankyou, super sleuthing!
Also of note...this merchant was intellectual (library, globes, chess) and atheletic!