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Portrait of Maria Weston (1794-1804)

Probably 1800-1804
Origin: America, Massachusetts, Duxbury
Unframed: 18 x 16in. (45.7 x 40.6cm) and Framed: 22 x 19 7/8in.
Oil on Canvas
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1974.100.2
A bust-length portrait of a child with feigned spandrels in the lower corners. She has brown hair with long, stringy bangs, the back hair hanging loose behind her neck. She wears a white dress with a high waistline and a low neckline, also a choker of beads or stones. The background is a cool gray.
The 2 1/8-inch cove molded frame, painted black with inner and outer gilt quarter-round moldings, is original.
Label:Family tradition holds that Rufus Hathaway embarked on his painting career early in life but became convinced of the need to follow a more lucrative trade when he married one of his sitters, Judith Winsor, the daughter of a prominent merchant. Accordingly, Hathaway studied medicine and, in subsequent records, was always listed as a physician rather than an artist, despite the fact that he continued to paint. Hathaway's simple portrait of Maria Weston may have been executed posthumously. The young girl died in 1804, aged nine. Hathaway's portraits of her parents hang in the wing of the museum.
Provenance:Descended as part of a group from Ezra Weston, Jr., of Duxbury, Mass., probably to son Hon. Gershom Bradford Weston, probably to son Capt. Gershom Weston, to daughter Judith Sprague Weston Kendal, to daughter Mrs. Margaret S Kendal Carter of Waltham, Mass.; purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Lipman, New York, N.Y., 1948; in possession of Miss Mary Allis, Southport, Conn. by 1949
Inscription(s):Painted on the reverse of the original canvas ca. 1845, when a duplicate portrait of Ezra Weston, Sr., was made, "Maria Weston-daughter /Ezra & Jerusha-his wife/Born Dec 3rd 1794-/ Died Feby 2d 1804."