Mary Hopkinson (Q62468959)

Label from: English (en)

artist: Benjamin West (Q313498)
collection: Smithsonian American Art Museum (Q1192305)
location: Smithsonian American Art Museum (Q1192305)
main subject: Mary Hopkinson Morgan (Q97586054)
material used: oil paint (Q296955) canvas (Q4259259)
depicts: mandolin (Q302497) satin (Q14298) gown (Q1036729) pearl necklace (Q15880515) Orientalism (Q42865) woman (Q467)
instance of: painting (Q3305213)
Smithsonian American Art Museum ID: 27556

information from the Smithsonian American Art Museum catalog

description: Mary Hopkinson was the wife of Dr. John Morgan, chief surgeon of the Continental army and founder of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. In a letter to his mother-in-law, Morgan praised his wife as “an excellent companion at all times . . . full of spirits.” In this portrait, Mary holds a mandolin, a fashionable instrument for aristocratic ladies. She wears a lavish pink satin gown with a sable collar and pearls that adorn her sleeves and hair. This outfit was not typical dress for colonial women, but was invented by the artist to conjure eighteenth-century European tastes for all things related to the “Orient.” (Reinhardt, “The Work of Fancy and Taste,” Dress, vol. 29, 2002) Benjamin West painted this portrait from a miniature of Mary that her husband brought with him during his visit to London in 1764.
keywords Performing arts – music – guitar Portrait female – Hopkinson, Mary – waist length

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