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Matilda Davis Williams

ca. 1791-1792 Christian Gullager Born: Copenhagen, Denmark 1759 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1826 oil on canvas 29 5/8 x 24 3/4 in. (75.3 x 63.0 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase 1977.101.2 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 1A


Luce Center Label

Matilda Davis was the daughter of Caleb Davis, an important Boston merchant and shipowner and Speaker in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. She married Jeremiah Williams in 1787, just three years before she died at the age of twenty-two, and in this image she wears a miniature portrait of her husband. Christian Gullager created this portrait posthumously, probably from an existing painting of the young woman. He played with different textures in the detailed image, from the delicate lace of the sitter's bodice to her smooth, pale skin and shiny satin bow. Matilda appears ill at ease, as though she felt self-conscious in the elaborate gown and headdress she wore for the occasion.

Keywords

Dress - accessory - jewelry

Portrait female - Williams, Matilda Davis - waist length

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Christian Gullager

Born: Copenhagen, Denmark 1759 Died: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1826

More works in the collection by
Christian Gullager