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A brilliant Englishman well-known for his reforms while serving as a government official in India, Thomas Law came to the United States seeking a fresh start amid the political and social freedom of the new republic. This miniature depicts him much as he must have appeared when he first met the beautiful and spirited Eliza Parke Custis, eldest granddaughter of Martha Washington. The couple married in 1796 and had a daughter, but they separated in 1804 and divorced in 1811. Though unsigned, the miniature is likely by Robert Field, who painted other portraits of Washington family members in 1801, including Martha Washington. The reverse bears a woven plat of Law’s hair. More


c. 1801




Polychrome watercolor on ivory; Burnished copper alloy bezel case with a woven plat of hair on the reverse.


Overall: 3 1/4 in. x 2 1/4 in. x 5/16 in. (8.26 cm x 5.72 cm x 0.79 cm)
Other (miniature): 2 3/4 in. x 2 1/4 in. (6.99 cm x 5.72 cm)


Purchased with funds donated by Mrs. William S. (Jeanie) Kilroy, Sr., 2008

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Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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