21 of 57

Ralph Earl
Mrs. Richard Alsop
1792
oil
45 5/8 x 36 1/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase and gift of Joseph Alsop



Her erect posture and stern expression characterize Mary Alsop as a formidable woman. After her husband's death, Mary successfully managed her family's international mercantile business, including shipping, dry goods, and real estate. The river, seen through the window, alludes to the importance transport by river and sea played in her business ventures, while her silver snuffbox suggests the common use of tobacco in eighteenth-century America.