Mary Hopkinson

Media - 1926.6.1 - SAAM-1926.6.1_1 - 53530
Copied Benjamin West, Mary Hopkinson, ca. 1764, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, George Buchanan Coale Collection, 1926.6.1
Free to use

Artwork Details

Mary Hopkinson
Studio of Benjamin West
ca. 1764
50 3838 18 in. (127.896.9 cm)
Credit Line
George Buchanan Coale Collection
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
  • Performing arts — music — guitar
  • Portrait female — Hopkinson, Mary — waist length
Object Number

Artwork Description

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.