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Mary Elizabeth Francis, the Artist's Daughter

ca. 1840 John F. Francis Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1808 Died: Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania 1886 oil on canvas 36 5/8 x 29 3/8 in. (93.1 x 74.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase and gift in memory of Grace Brereton Sturtevant, the artist's great niece 1972.52 Smithsonian American Art Museum
2nd Floor, East Wing


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In this charming portrait of his only daughter, John F. Francis included decorative props such as a floral-patterned carpet, straw hat with scarf, and a kitten. The oval format of the painting evokes the miniatures that nineteenth-century Americans commissioned to preserve the memories of their loved ones. Mary died in 1856, and by the end of the decade Francis had lost all of his immediate family. He survived for another thirty years, perhaps drawing comfort from this beautifully painted image of his daughter.

Keywords

Animal - cat

Dress - accessory - hat

Figure(s) in exterior - rural

Portrait female - Francis, Mary Elizabeth - child

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About John F. Francis

Born: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1808 Died: Jeffersonville, Pennsylvania 1886

More works in the collection by
John F. Francis