John Custis IV (1678-1749)

Date: 1735-1744

John Custis IV was the son of John Custis III and Margaret Michael Custis. He married Frances Parke and was the father of Daniel Parke Custis, Frances Parke Custis, and John Custis. There are two versions of this portrait with similar iconography but by different artists. The artist of the other portrait is unknown and it is unclear which portrait came first. The subject lived in Williamsburg and maintained a house at Arlington Plantation. It is unclear where this portrait hung. They appear to have descended together to Mary Custis Lee of Arlington House. However, Charles Bridges probably painted the subject in Williamsburg.

Dimensions: 36 x 27 in. (91.44 x 68.58 cm.)

The subject wears a gray jacket with large cuffs and a gray wig. He is turned three-quarters to his left. His left hand rests on a book which he standing upright. “Of the Tulip” is written on a piece of paper sticking sideways out of the book. A pink tulip lies next to the book on a table. His right hand is tucked into his jacket.

See: Encyclopedia Virginia; The Custis Family Migration (Colonial Williamsburg Archaeology); Graham Hood, Charles Bridges and William Dering: Two Virginia Painters, 1735-1750 (1975), 66-70.

Family: Custis
Location: Williamsburg
Decade: 1730s1740s
Credits: Courtesy of Washington and Lee University, University Collections of Art and History, U1918.1.4.