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Portrait of Mary Mattingly

1850
Origin: America, Maryland, Mount Savage
Overall: 96.5 x 80cm (38 x 31 1/2in.) framed
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2014.100.1
A three-quarter length portrait of a girl holding a rose in her left hand. The child's simple black dress is accentuated with white lace on the collar, a gold bracelets on either wrist, and a necklace made up of blue beads with a central gold pendent. Her dark hair is parted just to the right of center and is pulled back in an oversized white and blue ribbon. The oval composition is created through the use of solid black framing spandrels.
Label:In October 1850, itinerant painter John James Trumbull Arnold captured likenesses of Mary, about 3 years old, and her parents Ellen and Sylvester Mattingly. Mary was born and lived most of her life in Mount Savage, Maryland. She never married, but lived independently and sold ice cream from her shop. She died in 1920 at the age of 73.
The back of Mary’s portrait is inscribed by the artist with her name and date.

John James Trumbull Arnold (1812-1865) was an itinerant artist who worked in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania in the mid-19th century. Like many of his paintings, the reverse of Mary's portrait is signed and dated in the fanciful hand of the artist, who described himself as a "Professor of Penmanship." Arnold also used this ornate script on his pen-and-ink self-portrait, in which he depicts himself with a quill in hand. This highly ornamented miniature, which likely doubled as an advertisement for his work--note that at the bottom, almost lost in the details of his pen, he states his career as a "Portrait and Miniature Painter"--was created almost ten years before is his portrait of Mary Mattingly.

Inscription(s):On reverse of canvas in artist's hand: Portrait of/ Mary Mattingly/ Drawn by John Arnold/ On the 26th of October/ 1850