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Label

This miniature, painted in 1801 by British-born artist Robert Field, is perhaps the most accurate record of Martha Washington's appearance in her final years. At the time, a visitor to Mount Vernon described it as a "striking likeness" that was "drawn to please her grand children in the usual long laced cap & neckkerchief [sic], that they may see her as she affected it in her every day face." Dressed in black with a dignified and serene countenance, she appears in mourning for her husband, who had died less than two years before.

Description

Oval, bust-length portrait of Martha Washington; her head and body facing slightly to the right as she looks at the viewer; she wears a white cap with black ribbon, a white fichu, a white neckerchief, and a black lace shawl over a black gown; brown background that is lightest on the right; lit from the right.

Gilded copper case with double ring holder at top; blue glass reverse with fifty seed pearls surrounding a central bezel containing a lock of blond hair; underneath the blue glass is a layer of metal foil painted with white dots.

Date

1801


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Watercolor, ivory, copper, glass, pearl, hair


Dimensions

Overall: 3 1/2 in. x 2 3/8 in. (8.89 cm x 6.05 cm)
Other (miniature without frame): 2 3/4 in. x 2 1/16 in. (6.99 cm x 5.23 cm)


Credit Line

Purchase, 1956


Signed

RF/1801


Object Number

W-2137/A-B


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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