Evelyn Byrd (1707-1737)

Artist: Unknown
Date: probably 1725-1726

Evelyn Byrd was the eldest surviving child of William Byrd II and Lucy Parke Byrd. She never married. She spent her teenage years in England, where she sat for this portrait.

In 1813, Mary Willing Byrd left the portrait to the subject’s niece, Evelyn Taylor Byrd Harrison of Brandon, as “agreeably to her Sister Ann’s wish the portrait of her Aunt Evelyn.”

Dimensions: 50 3/16 x 40 3/8 in. (127.5 x 102.6 cm.)

The portrait represents a young woman wearing a blue wrap dress and a floral hairpiece. In her lap is a straw hat decorated with flowers and a ribbon. A shepherdess’ crook rests across her lap. She sits outdoors in a landscape with a long view to the distance, a tree behind her, and small flowers next to her. A red cardinal appears in the upper left of the painting.

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; Carolyn J. Weekley, Painters and Paintings in the Early American South (2013), 88-89; Wayne Craven, Colonial American Portraiture (1986), 205-213; Colonial Williamsburg eMuseum

Family: Byrd
Decade: 1720s
Credits: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Museum Purchase, 1941-76.