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Portrait of Elizabeth Todd Seaton Moore (Mrs. Augustine Moore)(?-after 1742) and Child

Probably 1738-1740
Origin: America, Virginia, King William County
Unframed: 49 1/16 x 40 1/4in. (124.6 x 102.2cm) and Framed: 55 1/2 x 46 7/8 x 2 1/2in.
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1976-377
A three-quarter length portrait of a woman, seated, turned in three-quarter view towards the viewer's left, and holding a child on her lap. The woman wears a dark blue dress with elbow-length sleeves, the edges of a white shift visible at the elbow and neckline of the dress. Her long, dark brown hair is styled in two small curls at the temples, otherwise pulled back from her face and hanging loose. Her proper right arm crosses behind the child and rests on his/her far shoulder, her other hand extending a peach, which is grasped by both sitters. The child wears red shoes and a yellow dress over a white shift. His/her hair is fair. The upper left quadrant of the painting shows open sky and a wooded landscape. A red drapery behind the woman's figure fills the right side of the composition.

The 4-inch carved and gilded frame is original. It incorporates cutout trefoils at each corner. A sanded flat sets next the sight edge, which is ornamented with continuous low relief decoration. The outer, ogee curve of the front frame has three reserves on each side and two each on the top and lower members, the reserves alternating with scrolling, flowering vines that emanate from cornucopia-like devices. At center top and center bottom, the vines are gathered into a bar from which a fleur-de-lis emanates (in each case, pointed away from the portrait sitter). The outer edge of the back frame is carved in continuous low-relief ornament. The frame was conserved by J. H. Guttmann, New York, NY, in 1976. A file memo of 1 February 1994 indicates that the Forest Products Lab in Madison, WI, microscopically analyzed a sliver from the back of this frame, identifying it as Red Pine which, per Jon Prown, "suggests that the frame is British."

Label:Only scant, indirect evidence of Charles Bridges's artistic training and practice survives in his native England, and how he acquired his skills is unknown. Numerous canvases survive from the decade or so that he painted in Tidewater Virginia, however. Stylistically, these reveal his awareness of the work of Sir Godfrey Kneller or Charles Jervas, successive Principal Painters to the King.

Augustine Moore (ca. 1685-1743) was one of the wealthiest planters in the colony, his land holdings spreading over four counties including King William, where he erected Chelsea plantation. About 1714, he married the widowed Elizabeth Todd Seaton (?-after 1742), and they had at least three sons and two daughters. Spotty documentation of Bridges's travels and Moore family genealogy casts uncertainty on the identity of the child shown here. The portraits of the Moores retain their original frames, an extraordinarily rare and important survival.
Provenance:The following line of descent for CWF acc. nos. 1976-376 and 1976-377 is based partly on Michael Johnson to CWF, 11 August 1998, and on other, earlier documents in the file; it is partly conjectural:

From Augustine Moore to his widow, Elizabeth Todd Seaton Moore; to her son, Bernard Moore (ca. 1720-1775); to his widow, Anna Katherine Spotswood Moore (d. 1802); to [her nephew by marriage?] Bernard Moore II (d. 1806); to his widow, Lucy Leiper Moore (d. ca. 1812); to [her son?], Andrew L. Moore (d. 1828); to his wife, Ann Nelson Moore (d. 1865/1866); to her daughter, Lucy Moore Robinson.

Lucy Moore Robinson and her husband sold "Chelsea" (the Moore family plantation home in King William Co., Va.) in 1870 and moved to New Kent Co.. Va., taking the portraits with them.

By 1898, from Lucy Moore Robinson to her son, Leiper Moore Robinson, Sr., of Bowling Green, Va.; on 19 October 1898, sold 1976-376 and 1976-377 (and five other Moore family portaits) to his niece, Mrs. Isaac Newton Jones (nee Louise Beverly Turner)(1866-1943). Acc. nos. 1976-376, -377 then descended to the latter's granddaughter, Mrs. Helen Ballou of Warner Robins, Ga., who was CWF's source.