Oval, bust-length miniature painted in polychrome watercolors depicting two children and believed to be a double portrait of George Washington (Washy) Parke Custis (1781 - 1857) and Eleanor (Nelly) Parke Custis (1779 - 1852). The children are shown in similar attire: a bright blue silk dress with a scooped neckline trimmed with white lace on Nelly, and a slightly darker blue suit with gold accoutrements and white neckerchief trimmed with lace on her brother. Both children have brown eyes; while Nelly looks at the viewer, her brother appears to gaze beyond the frame to the (proper) right. They both wear their auburn hair down and just beyond shoulder-length with shorter bangs. Framing the pair on the (proper) left is a form in green, likely a curtain trimmed with reddish-brown or gold fringe, which falls just around the head of the girl. To her (proper) left is a vase containing greenery and coral-colored flowers. Behind the boy is a striated and weighty brown form that presumably represents the columns of a building. Between the two, in the landscape background, is the sky.

Plain rose gold frame; the reverse has an engraved swag border around a “checkerboard” plait of auburn hair.


B: Paper box with red stamp reading, "J. BLACK,/ Jeweller/ No.123/ Chestnut Street/ PHILAD.a"

Date

c. 1789


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Watercolor on ivory


Dimensions

Overall: 2 3/16 in. x 1 11/16 in. x 1/4 in. (5.56 cm x 4.29 cm x 0.64 cm)


Credit

Purchase, 1932


Object Number

W-487/A-B


Colors


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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