In the spring of 1785, the English painter Robert Edge Pine arrived at Mount Vernon in high hopes of taking a life portrait of the retired General George Washington. Washington was absent on business during much of his stay, but Pine took advantage of the opportunity to paint Martha Washington's four grandchildren as well as her niece. This portrait captures the childish grace of her seven-year-old granddaughter, Martha Parke Custis. The miniature she wears depicts a gentleman in military uniform, and may represent her step-grandfather, George Washington, or her father, John Parke Custis.

Description

Vertical, rectangular, bust-length portrait of a girl with brown hair and eyes, her body facing the viewer's left and her head turned slightly towards the viewer; she wears a blue dress with lace around the neckline, a short necklace of several strands, and an oval portrait miniature suspended on a ribbon around her neck; the miniature is turned to face the viewer and seems to depict a gentleman in military uniform, but the rendering is too indistinct to discern the sitter; her hair is dressed in a bun at the back of the head, with a curled tendril that descends and falls around her neck; gray background, lightest at the lower proper right corner.

Frame: Gilt on gesso cove-molded frame with floral ornaments at each corner and an egg-and-dart inner border; believed to be original.

Date

1785


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Oil on canvas


Dimensions

Overall: 24 3/8 in. x 21 in. (61.93 cm x 53.34 cm)
Other (Unframed): 20 in. x 16 in. (50.8 cm x 40.64 cm)


Credit Line

Purchase, 1951


Object Number

W-1616


Colors (Beta)


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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