Mary Hopkinson

  • Benjamin West, Mary Hopkinson, ca. 1764, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, George Buchanan Coale Collection, 1926.6.1

Luce Center Label

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.

Title
Mary Hopkinson
Artist
Date
ca. 1764
On View
Dimensions
50 3/8 x 38 1/8 in. (127.8 x 96.9 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

George Buchanan Coale Collection

Mediums
Mediums Description
oil on canvas
Classifications
Keywords
  • Performing arts – music – guitar
  • Portrait female – Hopkinson, Mary – waist length
Object Number
1926.6.1
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

1819
oil on paperboard

More Artworks from the Collection

ca. 1825-1830
oil on canvas
early 19th century
oil on wood and canvas strips
n.d.
oil on canvas