Fanny Bassett, Martha Washington's niece, first joined the Washington household in the fall of 1784, and quickly endeared herself to her aunt and other members of the family. A year later, Fanny married George Washington's nephew, George Augustine Washington. Washington asked the beloved couple to make their home at Mount Vernon, requesting his nephew to act as farm manager, and Fanny became her aunt's trusted deputy in running the affairs of the household. Her portrait, painted in 1785, was prominently hung in the West or Front Parlor at Mount Vernon.
Vertical, rectangular bust-length portrait of a woman with long brown hair and eyes, her body facing slightly to the viewer's left and her head turned to look at the viewer, with her chin tilted downward and slightly to her right; she wears a white wrap draped over her shoulders, and the top of a stomacher ornamented with embroidery and sequins or pearls is just visible above the lower edge of the painting; her hair is swept up on top of her head, with the exception of a few strands falling around her neck on her right, and a mass of tendrils over her left shoulder and across her breast; on the top of her head is placed a hair ornament which appears to consist of a black band with a pink and off-white ornament attached; blue-green background, lightest at the lower proper right corner.
Frame: Gilt on gesso cove-molded frame with branches of leaves and berries flanking each corner and a beaded inner border; frame is believed to have been added c. 1810.
Oil on canvas
Overall: 24 3/4 in. x 19 1/2 in. (62.87 cm x 49.53 cm)
Other (Stretcher): 25 in. x 20 1/8 in. (63.5 cm x 51.13 cm)
Gift of Mrs. S. Fahs Smith, 1947
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