That Mount Vernon’s collection includes a portrait of General Cornwallis, the British General who eventually surrendered to Washington in 1781 following his defeat at the Battle of Yorktown, is somewhat surprising. That the miniature was painted in Calcutta, India, by a British woman artist, Diana Dietz Hill, makes it even more fascinating. The miniature was given to Mount Vernon in 2010 by the descendants of the family of Elizabeth Parke Custis Law (1776–1831), Martha Washington’s granddaughter. In 1795 Elizabeth Parke Custis married Thomas Law (1759–1834), who had served in India with the British East India Company from 1773 to 1791. It is likely that Thomas Law, who knew Cornwallis personally, acquired the miniature. More






Watercolor on ivory, lacquered copper alloy, glass


Overall: 4 1/8 in. × 3 1/4 in. × 3/16 in. (10.48 cm × 8.26 cm × 0.48 cm)


Gift of Katherine Merle-Smith Thomas, 2010


Hill 1786

Object Number



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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