Margaret Reade Nelson was the wife of Thomas Nelson of Yorktown and the mother of William Nelson. She died before 1721, making it unlikely that she is the subject of this portrait. The dress and composition are similar to portraits from the 1740s and 1750s. The portrait also appears to have extensive overpainting, making it difficult to date or determine the artist. This may also be a copy of a lost original or it may even be a nineteenth-century painting. According to Frick Art Reference Library (FARL) records, the portrait descended in the Nelson family at Yorktown. This may be another member of the Nelson family.
The subject stands outdoors. Her dress has a jeweled clasp at her neckline and pearls at the elbows. Her left hand gestures downwards and her right hand rests on what appears to be a drape over an unseen surface.