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Portrait of Cassandra Hukill Howard (Mrs. George Howard)

ca. 1815
Origin: America, Kentucky, Mt. Sterling
Overall (framed): 33 1/4 x 28 1/4 x 2 1/4in. (33 1/4 x 28 1/4in., 5.7cm)
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase, The Friends of Colonial Williamsburg Collections Fund
Acc. No. 2015.100.2,A&B
A half-length portrait of a woman seated with her proper right hand resting on the back of her wooden chair. She wears a grey gown with a matching ribbon around her waist and a lace ruffle around her neck. Her dark brown hair is pulled back, except for a few ringlets that frame her face, and hidden beneath a lace veil that drapes around her shoulders. Behind her are a brown background and a red drape with gold fringe in the upper left corner loosely tied with a thin gold rope.
Label:These portraits of dry goods merchant George Howard and his wife, Cassandra Hukill Howard, are among Thomas Jefferson Wright’s earliest known works. The Howards took to the young artist and made arrangements for him to meet celebrated local artist, Matthew Harris Jouett, who himself wrote a letter of introduction to Thomas Sully for Wright in 1822. How much of a role the Howards played in Wright’s artistic career is yet to be determined, but a portrait of their son, Thomas Gibson Howard, was painted by Wright in 1833, suggesting the couple stayed in touch with the young artist.

Despite the vivid red color of the drapery in Cassandra Howard’s portrait, close examination of her dress suggests the greyish-purple pigment has faded over time. Tests reveal that the original color was a much more vibrant lavender.
Provenance:Sitter to his daughter, Elizabeth Howard of Lexington, Ky; to her niece, Emily Clarence Barnes of Lexington, Ky; to her second cousin, Elizabeth Howard Embry of Paris, Ky; to her cousin, Kenneth Calvin Thomson Jr. of Richmond, Ky; to his daughter Elizabeth Embry of Paris Ky; to our vendor Clifton Anderson Art and Antiques of Lexington, Ky.
Inscription(s):Modern inscription in black ink on reverse of canvas:

Cassandra Hukill
B. 7/4/1770 New Castle Co., Delaware dau. of Spencer
Hukill + Leah Bouldin
wife of Major George Howard
married in Mt. Sterling, Ky April 22, 1806
she died 7/1/1864 at "Howard Place" Mt. Sterling, Ky

Mt. Sterling, Ky.
painted in 1815

ownership: for details see back of portrait of Geo. Howard
1. Mrs. Alex. M. Barnes (Eliz. Howard) Lexington Ky
2. Emily Clarence Barnes Lexington Ky 1871-1956
3. Eliz. Howard Embry - Paris Ky 1885-1971
4. Kenneth Calvin Thomson Jr. - Galletin Tn. - B 1940 a descendant of Mrs. Judge Bowling Embry (nee Louisa Howard dau. of Geo. + Cassandra (Hukill) Howard)