Mary Bland Lee was married to Henry Lee of Lee Hall. A portrait of her is mentioned in her son, John Lee‘s, 1765 will. It is unclear if this portrait is the same one referenced in John Lee’s will or if this is a different portrait of her or another family member. A family historian recorded that the portraits from John Lee’s will were destroyed. Further, her husband died in 1747 before John Hesselius arrived in Virginia. If this is John Lee’s portrait of his mother, he owned portraits of his parents painted at different times of their lives and by different artists.
Dimensions: 30 x 24.4 in. (76.3 x 62.1 cm.)
The subject wears a blue dress with a white stomacher decorated with three large, blue bows. A red drape is around her left arm. She wears a three strand necklace. Her right hand holds a small sprig of flowers. She is turned towards her left. She appears inside a painted oval frame.
Reference: Appears in son John Lee’s will: “I give to my brother Henry Lee my picture and those of my Father and mother,” in Edmund Jennings Lee, ed. Lee of Virginia, 1642-1892: Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of The Descendants of Colonel Richard Lee (Philadelphia, 1895), 131-136, 285-287.