called John Howell, called Robert “King” Carter (ca. 1664-1732)

Artist: Unknown
Date: probably 1720-1750

This portrait was called Robert “King” Carter when it was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. However, it is actually a member of the Howell or Lightfoot family. It descended in the Howell and Lightfoot family at Sandy Point. An inscription believed to date from the 19th century identified the subject as “Sir John Howell London 1680.” Mildred Howell’s father was named John Howell. It is possible that the portrait represents this John Howell. The portrait is stylistically similar to portraits of the 1720s-1740s.

Reference: Family history regarding portraits that once hung at Sandy Point, the Lightfoot family plantation, later called Tedington: “Portrait of ‘Sir John Howell, London, 1680’ (name and date on back of canvas), full-length, in grey court dress, leaning on sword. He was, presumably, the grandfather of Mildred.”

Dimensions: 49 5/8 x 39 1/8 in. (126.05 x 99.38 cm.)

The subject wears a gray jackete with silver buttons and buttonholes and very large cuffs. He wears a gray wig. A black hat is tucked under his left arm. He has a dress sword on his left hip. His right hand wears a tan glove, holds the other glove, and rests on a walking stick. Behind him on his right is a large window with a view to the landscape.

See: Lyon G. Tyler, “The Lightfoot Family,” William and Mary Quarterly 3, 2 (October 1894): 110; Graham Hood, Charles Bridges and William Dering: Two Virginia Painters, 1735-1750 (1978), 74-78.

Credits: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.68.18.