In the spring of 1785, the English painter Robert Edge Pine arrived at Mount Vernon in high hopes of taking a life portrait of the retired General George Washington. Washington was absent on business during much of his stay, but Pine took advantage of the opportunity to paint Martha Washington's four grandchildren as well as her niece. Pine depicted Mrs. Washington's six-year-old granddaughter, Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis, as if she had just returned from gathering fresh fruit or flowers. The shy glance of her deep brown eyes and her unpretentious dress combine to create a romanticized picture of childhood innocence.


Vertical, rectangular, bust-length portrait of a girl with short, curly brown hair and dark eyes, her body facing the viewer's left and her head turned towards the viewer and slightly tilted downward as she looks up at the viewer; she wears a white dress or wrap which falls off her left shoulder, leaving it bare; in her hands, she holds a basket of fruit or flowers, indistinctly rendered; blue-gray background, lightest at the lower proper right corner.

Frame: Gilt on gesso cove-molded frame with floral ornaments at each corner and an egg-and-dart inner border; reproduction frame, as noted in treatment reports in the Curatorial File.






Oil on canvas


Overall: 24 in. x 20 1/8 in. x 2 3/4 in. (60.96 cm x 51.13 cm x 6.99 cm)
Other (unframed): 19 7/8 in. x 16 1/4 in. (50.5 cm x 41.28 cm)

51.1 cm61 cm7 cm

* Object size compared to a tennis ball

Credit Line

Bequest of Marie Worthington Conrad Lehr in memory of her brother, Charles A. Conrad, 1922

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.
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Donate Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save