EARLE, RALPH (1751–1801), American historical and portrait painter, was born at Leicester, Massachusetts, on the 11th of May 1751. Like so many of the colonial craftsmen, Earle was self-taught, and for many years was an itinerant painter. He went with the Governor’s Guard to Lexington and made battle sketches, from which in 1775 he painted four scenes, engraved by Amos Doolittle, which are probably the first historical paintings by an American. After the War of Independence, Earle went to London, entered the studio of Benjamin West, and painted the king and many notables. After his return to America in 1786 he made portraits of Timothy Dwight, Governor Caleb Strong, Roger Sherman, and other prominent men. He also painted a large picture of Niagara Falls. He died at Bolton, Connecticut, on the 16th of August 1801.