This miniature by acclaimed portrait miniaturist Robert Field depicts Thomas Beall, who knew George Washington personally and whose daughter married George Corbin Washington, one of the General’s nephews. Beall had inherited land from his grandfather Ninian Beall (1630-1717), a Scotsman and early founder of the area, and his extensive property became a central portion of Georgetown. Beall became the second mayor of Georgetown in 1791, and he was instrumental in creating the Federal city of Washington D.C. Together with John Mackall Gantt, Beall oversaw the division of city lots during the planning of the capital city.


An oval, bust-length portrait in polychrome watercolors of Thomas Beall against a background of blue sky and clouds. Beall is presented turned three-quarters to the proper left, and he gazes out toward the viewer. The subject wears a midnight-blue coat which has prominent striations, particularly around the collar and lapels. He has a white stock and jabot, which is highlighted with opaque white and appears windblown. Beall has been shown with fair, unpowdered, graying hair. His coloring and blue eyes are pale; this is particularly noticeable in the lips, which are only very subtly differentiated from the rest of the face.

The miniature is encased in a black wood (or papier-mache?) frame with gold, oval-shaped inset. A (later and somewhat uneven) black ring of paint surrounds the miniature. The hanging hardware is attached at top center with a rose-and-thistle ornament.






Watercolor on ivory; wood; glass; gilt metal


Overall: 4 15/16 in. × 4 1/4 in. × 1/4 in. (12.54 cm × 10.8 cm × 0.64 cm)
Other (miniature): 2 7/8 in. × 2 3/8 in. (7.3 cm × 6.1 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mary Washington Marr, 2009

Object Number


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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