Elizabeth Hill Byrd Farley (Mrs. James Parke Farley, 1754-1819)

Date: 1773

Elizabeth Hill Byrd Farley was the daughter of William Byrd III and Elizabeth Hill Carter Byrd. She married James Parke Farley in March 1771. Her second husband was John Dunbar. Her third husband was Henry Skipwith, who she married in 1799. This may have been painted at Westover when Alexander painted her stepmother, Mary Willing Byrd. This portrait descended from the subject’s daughter, Maria Byrd Farley (Mrs. William Champe Carter). Mary Willing Byrd’s 1813 will mentions “portraits” of this subject, which were left to Evelyn Byrd Page, implying more than one. This may be one of them; however, if so, it ended up in her daughter’s family.

Possible reference: “Portraits of her aunt Skipwith” were left to Evelyn Byrd Page in the 1813 will of Mary Willing Byrd.

Dimensions: 30 x 24 3/4 in. (76.2 x 62.9 cm.)

The portrait shows a woman turned three-quarters to her left. She wears an imaginary style dress with jeweled embellishments on her sleeve. A scarf is attached to her right shoulder and goes behind her back and she holds the other end of it up with her left hand. She wears a jeweled hairpiece.

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; FARL

Family: ByrdFarley
Decade: 1770s
Credits: Private collection. Photograph by Ira W. Martin, courtesy of the Frick Art Reference Library.