This intriguing portrait has an English provenance from the early decades of the 20th century and was purchased from an English collector in the early 1950s. It has been inscribed with the name of the eldest granddaughter of Martha Washington, Eliza Parke Custis, on the reverse. However when compared with other portraits of the subject (such as the MVLA’s H-4833 and M-3615), this designation seems unlikely. In addition to rather different facial features, this sitter has extraordinarily blue eyes, while Elizabeth Parke Custis’ eyes are consistently painted as brown elsewhere. In certain aspects this miniature resembles a Richard Cosway portrait—notably the enlarged and vivid eyes and frothy confection of a dress. More


c. 1830




Watercolor on ivory, wood/papier-mâché, glass, paint


Overall (including frame): 5 3/4 in. × 6 1/2 in. (14.61 cm × 16.51 cm)
Other (miniature alone): 2 1/2 in. × 3 1/4 in. (6.35 cm × 8.26 cm)


Purchase, 1953


IS? TS? An inscription of interwoven letters including an S in a monogram at left, just beyond the (proper right) shoulder.

Object Number



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