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The subject of this portrait is unclear. It is either Elizabeth Landon Carter, the mother of Landon Carter of Sabine Hall, or his first wife, Elizabeth Wormeley Carter (ca. 1713-1740). However, it is based on an English print from early in the 18th century supporting the identification of the subject as Landon Carter’s mother. A reference to a copy of his mother’s portrait also supports identification of the portrait as Elizabeth Landon Carter. The reference suggests that a copy of his mother’s portrait existed and that he was interested in obtaining one — however, it is unclear if he ever commissioned a copy for himself at Sabine or if the copy he referred to was owned by a sibling.
The possible reference reads, “So far as I am able to judge I think Mr. Peele has much merit in his profession, but in the article of mixing colors for duration, he would seem to be deficient, by the picture he has drawn of Lord Chatham now at Chantilly. The colors of that piece have greatly faded in the short time since it was drawn. I observe in your letter to Mr. Peele that this is one of your capital objections to the copies that have been already taken of your Mothers picture.” – Richard Henry Lee to Landon Carter, 9 October 1772, in Papers of the Carter and Wellford Family of Sabine Hall 1650-1918, Small Special Collection, University of Virginia.
Dimensions: 48 3/4 x 39 1/8 in. (128.82 x 99.34 cm.)
The portraits features a woman wearing a pale gold wrap dress with a red drape around her arms. She carries a basket of flowers. She has a few pearls in her hair. She stands in an alcove with a stone urn on a pedestal in the background. She is turned three-quarters to her left.
See: FARL; Carolyn J. Weekley, Painters and Paintings in the Early American South (2013), 254-5; MESDA Database, S-4038