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Mrs. George Watson

1765 John Singleton Copley Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1738 Died: London, England 1815 oil on canvas 49 7/8 x 40 in. (126.7 x 101.6 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Partial gift of Henderson Inches, Jr., in honor of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Inches, and museum purchase made possible in part by Mr. and Mrs. R. Crosby Kemper through the Crosby Kemper Foundation; the American Art Forum; and the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 1991.189 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, South Wing

Gallery Label

Mrs. Watson, the wife of a wealthy Boston merchant, wears a fashionably low-cut gown of luscious satin and white lace and holds a porcelain vase that echoes the contours of her figure. The yards of expensive fabric and silk ribbons in the costume testified to George Watson's success as an importer of European goods, as did the fact that he could afford to commission a portrait from Boston's foremost painter. Mrs. Watson showed herself to colonial society as a fashionable English matron, but her direct gaze suggests the grit and character of a new American society that would emerge within ten years.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006


Dress - historic - eighteenth century dress

Figure(s) in interior

Object - flower - tulip

Object - other - vase

Portrait female - Watson, Elizabeth Oliver - knee length

Portrait female - Watson, George, Mrs. - knee length


paint - oil

fabric - canvas