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Portrait of Mary Robinson Purdie

Origin: America, Virginia, probably Smithfield or Williamsburg
Overall: 81.3 x 66cm (32 x 26in.) Framed: 95.3 x 82.6cm (37 1/2 x 32 1/2in.)
Oil on canvas
Gift of Doris Gwaltney
Acc. No. 2016-90,A&B
A half-length portrait of a woman with her head turned to the viewer's left. She extends both of her arms forward, one bearing a cluster of grapes, the other serving as a perch for an orange breasted bird. Her hair is pulled up and ornamented with sprays of blooms and foliage. Around her attenuated neck are rows of large pearls and a central pearl pendant secured with a prominent bow. The sitter wears a blue dress with gathered fabric robings as well as lace accents around the neckline and cuffs.
Label:Mary Robinson Purdie (d. 1808) was the ninth child of Major Anthony Robinson (1697-1756) and Diana Starkey (1702-1758). Mary was the second wife of George Purdie, but he had no issue from his first union with Frances Wentworth. The Purdies lived in Smithfield, Virginia, where George operated as a merchant and justice of the peace.
Provenance:The will of Mary Robinson Purdie includes “two family portraits,” which could refer to the Durand paintings. After her death, they passed to her eldest son, John Hyndman Purdie (1770-1845), to his son John Robinson Purdie (1809-1898), to his son Thomas Smith Purdie (1853-1923), to his son Colonel Kenneth Sinclair Purdie (1892-1983). At this time, Doris Horne Gwaltney, a descendant of John Hyndman Purdie’s brother, Thomas, assumed ownership. Doris Gwaltney and her husband William Atwill Gwaltney donated the portraits to Colonial Williamsburg in March 2016 along with a number of other Purdie family objects.