Anne Byrd (later Mrs. Charles Carter, 1725-1757)

Artist: Unknown
Date: 1729-1730

This portrait was previously believed to have been painted in England. However, archival evidence suggest it was painted in Virginia around 1730 when Anne Byrd arrived in Virginia from England. It was painted as a pendant to the portrait of her brother, William Byrd III, who was born in Virginia and did not travel to England until 1747. She was the daughter of William Byrd II and Maria Taylor Byrd. She later married Charles Carter of Cleves and was painted as an adult by both William Dering and John Hesselius.

This is almost surely the portrait “of his Aunt Carter” left to William Powell Byrd in Mary Willing Byrd’s 1813 will.

Dimensions: 50 3/8 x 40 3/8in. (128 x 102.6 cm.)

The subject is a young girl who wears a short white gown with pink drape around her and a floral hairpiece. Her left hand is resting on a brown and white dog’s head. The dog sits on a stone plinth. They appear in a wooded landscape.

See: “The Will of Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd, of Westover, 1813, with a List of the Westover Portraits,” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 6, no. 4 (April 1899): 345–58; Janine Yorimoto Boldt, “‘Constantly to look at me’: Slavery and the Development of Colonial American Portraiture,” Winterthur Portfolio (Summer/Autumn 2022): 127-166;  Colonial Williamsburg eMuseum

Family: Byrd
Decade: 1730s
Credits: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Museum Purchase, 1957-183.