According to family tradition, Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis, granddaughter of Martha Washington, painted this picture in memory of her cousin, Frances "Fanny" Bassett Washington Lear, who died in 1796. It follows the standard formula for memorial art of that era, in which a woman grieves at a monument in the midst of a garden. Such pictures combined both classical and Christian imagery to create a public expression of grief that would have been easily understood by contemporaries. In this example, stylized evergreens represent the hope of eternal life referenced in the monument's inscription: "She is not lost! Blest thought!/ But gone before/ me!" More


c. 1796




Watercolor, ink, gouache, laid paper


Overall (H x W of sheet): 12 1/4 in. x 10 1/8 in. (31.12 cm x 25.72 cm)


Purchase, 1991


Watermark on the proper left side of the paper: "A BLACKWELL/ 1796".

Written in script on a square piece of paper pasted on the plinth: "She is not lost!/Blest thought!/ But gone before/ me!"

Written in script beneath the square piece of paper pasted on the plinth: "She is not [illegible]/[illegible]/[illegible]/ [illegible].

Object Number



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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