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Portrait of Anne Byrd Carter (Mrs. Charles Carter)(1725-1757)

1742-1746 (probably)
Origin: America, Virginia
Unframed: 50 1/2 x 40in. (128.3 x 101.6cm) and Framed: 54 x 44 1/2 x 1 1/8in.
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. E. Alban Watson
Acc. No. 1963-28
A three-quarter length portrait of a standing woman, her body turned one quarter towards the viewer's left, her head to the right, her eyes on the viewer. She wears a blue gown over a white shift and, in her proper left hand, supports the folds of a reddish-brown wrap or cloak. She has dark eyes. Her long dark hair is gathered off her face and falls over her shoulders in ringlets. Pearls and small white flower blooms decorate her hair on one side. In her proper right hand, she holds a basket by its handle, the basket containing small fruits. (Grapes? Cherries?) A column occupies the far (viewer's) right side of the composition, while in the distance to the left appears a small brick outbuilding; a fence (solid at the bottom and paled at the top) bisects the outbuilding and take a 90-degree angle to run across the composition behind the subject.

The 2 3/8-inch black-painted molded frame with a gilded, sanded, and ornamented liner is a modern reproduction suppiled by J. H. Guttmann in 1977; its accession number is 1977-14(R).
Label:Anne Byrd married Charles Carter of Cleve in 1742, several years after William Dering arrived in Virginia. The Carters lived near the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia, across the Palace Green from Dering, in a house that was later owned by (and is now named after) Robert Carter III, a relative. The sitter was portrayed again with two of her children in a 1750–1755 painting by John Hesselius.

Anne Byrd Carter was the daughter of William Byrd II and Maria Taylor of Westover. She stands in front of a garden setting, probably a view of the gardens at Westover where she lived prior to marriage. The artist also knew these gardens well, but whether he painted the portrait there or at Cleve after the sitter’s marriage is unknown. A portrait of her husband, Charles Carter, is attributed to Charles Bridges and also owned by Colonial Williamsburg.
Provenance:The early part of the following line of descent is speculated, the latter part documented: From the subject to her son, Landon Carter (1751-1811); to his son, Robert Charles Carter (1783-1849); to his son, Robert Otway Carter (1810-1874) of "Cleve" and Oxford, Miss.; to his wife, Mrs. Robert Otway Carter (Edmonia Fauntleroy Corbin)(1825-1917); to her granddaughter, Mrs. Lucia Sloan Hopkins of St. Louis, Mo., and La Jolla, California; in 1950, to her cousin, Mrs. E. Alban Watson (Lucille McWane) of Lynchburg, Va.; in 1961, to CWF.