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"


c. 1789




Watercolor on ivory


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 Line

Purchase, 1932

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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