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Mary Hopkinson

ca. 1764 Studio of Benjamin West Born: Springfield, Pennsylvania 1738 Died: London, England 1820 oil on canvas 50 3/8 x 38 1/8 in. (127.8 x 96.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum George Buchanan Coale Collection 1926.6.1 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 4B


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Mary Hopkinson

Luce Center Label

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

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Studio of Benjamin West

Born: Springfield, Pennsylvania 1738 Died: London, England 1820

More works in the collection by
Studio of Benjamin West