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Portrait of Ann Fitzhugh Rose (Mrs. Robert Rose)(1721-1789)

Origin: America, Virginia, Stafford County
Unframed: 30 1/4" x 24 3/4" and Framed: 34 7/8" x 29 1/2" x 2 3/4"
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1989-338,A&B
A half-length portrait of an older woman seated in a rococo side chair, her body and head turned a quarter towards the viewer's right, her eyes to the viewer. She has brown eyes and graying hair. Her head is covered by a white cap that has pleated ruffles around her face and is tied under her chin. She also wears a plain white kerchief over her shoulders and bodice. Her lavender-gray gown has a plain white stomacher and has close-fitting, three-quarter length sleeves with ruffles at the elbows; ruffles from her plain white shift show from beneath its sleeves. She holds a [snuff?] box in her proper right hand.

The 2 3/4-inch black-painted, scoop-molded frame has a bronze-painted liner ornamented with lamb's tongue, its mitred joints through tenoned and secured with corner splines; it awaits closer examination for age estimation as of 8/19/2010.
Label:John Hesselius was no stranger to Virginia's extended Fitzhugh family. During 1751-1771, he executed more than a dozen portraits of its members, most of them original works ad vivem. (In the case of two deceased family founders, he copied pre-existing works by other hands.)

In 1740, Ann Fitzhugh married Rev. Robert Rose (1704-1751). He pastored parishes in both Essex and Albemarle counties, and the couple lived at "Bear Garden" plantation on the Tye River in Albemarle. Later, after her husband's death, Ann probably returned to Stafford, the county of her birth, to be nearer her Fitzhugh relations. Presumably it was there that Hesselius painted her in 1771. By then, she had been widowed for twenty years and, at age fifty, would have been considered elderly by eighteenth-century standards. Nevertheless, the style and color of her clothing are more subdued than lifespan and widowhood alone would suggest. She may have been in "second mourning" for her son Henry, who died in 1769.

The modest, half-length format of her Ann Rose's portrait contrasts notably and, undoubtedly, purposely with the showier, more ambitious three-quarter-length format Hesselius used for four other family members in 1770 and 1771, the earlier year including likenesses of Ann's son-in-law and daughter, Gavin and Susannah Rose Lawson (acc. nos. 1954-261 and -262).

Ann was the daughter of Capt. Henry Fitzhugh (1687-1758) and his wife, Susannah Cooke (1693-1749), who occupled "Bedford" plantation on the Potomac River in Stafford County. The six children born to Robert and Ann Fitzhugh Rose were Henry (1741-1769), Hugh (1743-1797), Patrick (1745-1822), Charles (1747-1802), Susannah (1749-1825), and Margaret (1750-1828).
Provenance:The complete line of family descent has not been documented, but it may replicate the first part of the path followed by 1954-261 and 1954-262, which see. This is speculated due to the painting's ownership by Dr. Hugh D. Rose in 1946 (Knoedler Galleries, "Published," p. 24). Sometime after that, it was acquired by Rose's relation, Mrs. Fuller Potter (Alice Otis) of Ledyard, Conn., whence it was acquired by CWF's source, dealers Sumpter Priddy and Luke Beckerdite.

Inscription(s):In paint in slightly-forward sloping unconnected letters on the reverse of the original canvas is: "Mrs Ann Rose. AEtat 50/ J. Hefselius Pinx 1771".

In black paint on the back of the lower frame member is: "#8089".