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Portrait of Elizabeth Boush [later, Mrs. ChampionTravis](b. 1752-1754; d. bef. 1811)

1769
Origin: America, Virginia, Norfolk
Unframed: 30 3/8 x 25 9/16in. (77.2 x 64.9cm) and Framed: 33 3/8 x 28 1/4 x 1 7/8in.
Oil on canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1982-271,A&B
A half-length portrait of a young woman, her body turned a quarter to the left, her head turned in the opposite direction nearly parallel to her shoulders, and her eyes to the viewer. Her elbows are bent and hands raised to waist-height, where she holds, suspended, a garland of roses strung together. She wears a blue dress with embroidery on the front, double lace cuffs at the elbow-length sleeves, and lace trimming the low square neckline. A rose bloom is tucked into her bodice. At her throat, she wears a choker of pale stones tied at the back of her neck with a ribbon. A matching earring appears on her only visible (proper R) ear. She wears flowers and feathers in her dark brown hair. She stands within a wooded glade.

The portrait retains what is probably its original 1 3/4-inch black-painted, bolection-molded frame.

Label:The portrait is inscribed with the sitter’s and artist’s names and the date of its execution. Elizabeth was the daughter of Samuel Boush of Norfolk and was related to the Barraud family of Williamsburg and Hampton. In 1772, Elizabeth married Champion Travis (1747?–1810), a burgess from Jamestown who remained active in civic affairs for many years. The couple eventually moved to Williamsburg and purchased the dwelling now known as the Travis House.

Her pose is typical of Durand, as is the profusion of flowers held by the sitter and placed at her breast and in her hair. These probably replicate the fashionable fabric flowers imported into the colonies and advertised in local papers during the period. Elizabeth herself may have made the ones represented in her portrait, since she was a student of Elizabeth Gardner of Norfolk who taught young women how to make artificial flowers.



Provenance:Colonial Williamsburg's vendor, Lucy Lane Kelly (Mrs. Monroe Kelly), inherited the portrait from her mother (whose name is unknown and whose death date is given only as post 1976)[C. J. Weekley to Graham Hood, 26 July 1982]. No earlier history has been recorded, although the portrait is presumed to have descended in Kelly's family.
Inscription(s):In black paint on the back of the primary support is "Elysabeth Boush/AE 16 A. D. 1769/ Durand pinxt." The same inscription has been copied onto the back of the lining canvas. See Cleo Mullins's conservation report of 1/23/87.