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Portrait of Henrietta Francis Cuthbert (1813-1889)

ca. 1816
Origin: America, Virginia, Norfolk
Unframed: 36 1/4 x 27 3/4in. (92.1 x 70.5cm) and Framed: 40 1/4 x 31 5/8in. (102.2 x 80.3cm)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Lucy Lee Powell, Louise M. Powell, Francis T. S. Powell, and Frank S. Foster
Acc. No. 1941.100.7
A full-length portrait of a young girl standing in an interior and turned slightly towards the viewer's right. Her short blonde hair is combed toward her face, with the hair over her forehead and temples curled in tight ringlets. Her high-waisted, short-sleeved white dress bears two ruffles below a tuck at the bottom, and a blue bow embellishes each shoulder. Each of her red, laced slippers bears a small red rose on top, and, on each wrist, she wears a coral bracelet. She holds an orange or gold-colored ball in her proper right hand. She has blue eyes. She stands out distinctly against the dark, plain, gray walls of the corner of a room, and the floor beneath her is either stencil-painted or covered with a red-and-green patterned carpet. Her proper left hand rests on the crest of a child's side chair painted red with yellow stencilling.

Artist unidentified.

The 2 3/4-inch molded and gilded white pine frame with applied rope twist molding is a period replacement. Microscopic analysis of the top member of the frame was done by J. T. Quirk of the Center for Wood Anatomy Research, Madison, Wisconsin, 10/22/1985.
Label:Henrietta Cuthbert (1813–1889) was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and seems three or four years old in this delightful depiction. Her sheer muslin dress with its Empire waist imitates adult fashions of the early 19th century. She steadies herself on a decorated child's chair and stands on a floor that is either carpeted or stencil-painted.

Henrietta was the only child of James and Frances Bragg Cuthbert, whose portraits by Cephas Thompson are also owned by Colonial Williamsburg. James, a merchant, died at sea two months after Henrietta's birth. After Henrietta married Dr. Francis Taliaferro Stribling in 1832, her mother went to live with the couple in Staunton, Virginia. Four of Henrietta’s grandchildren donated the portrait to Colonial Williamsburg some sixty years ago.

Provenance:See genealogical data in the painting's object file and in the object files for 1956-271, -272 (portraits of the subject's parents) and 1942.100.2 (a portrait of the subject's son).

Presumably the painting descended from the subject to her eldest child, Mrs. Hugh Lee Powell (nee Ella Matilda Stribling)(1833-?); to her three children and her nephew, i.e., Miss Lucy Lee Powell (1868-1940s?), Miss Louise M. Powell (1871-1940s?), Francis T. S. Powell (1874-?), and Frank S. Foster (1864-?).

[Alternatively, the painting may have been left by the subject to her TWO eldest children, Mrs. Hugh Lee Powell (nee Ella Matilda Stribling) and Mrs. Richard Taylor Foster (nee Frances Cuthbert Stribling)(b. 1836)].

Gift of four of the subject's grandchildren, Miss Louise M. Powell, Miss Lucy Lee Powell, Francis T. S. Powell and Frank S. Foster.