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John and his two brothers, William and Thomas, were sent to England by their father in 1756, indicating that these portraits were completed before then. John Carter Byrd was one of the sons of William Byrd III and Elizabeth Hill Carter Byrd. Mary Willing Byrd’s 1813 will left this portrait to Thomas Taylor Byrd, the subject’s brother.
Dimension: 30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm.)
The portrait features a young boy wearing a white waistcoat with black spots and a gray jacket. His shirt has ruffles at the neck and cuffs. A ribbon is behind his neck. A bird’s nest appears on top of a grass covered brown ledge. His left hand tilts up the nest. His right hand points at little brown birds inside the nest. He is turned towards his left.
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