Mary Churchill, Duchess of Montagu (ca. 1689-1751)

Date: 1722-1726

Mary Churchill, Duchess of Montagu was married to John Churchill, 2nd Duke of Montagu. She was the daughter of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and his wife, Sarah. This is a copy after an original portrait still in the collection of the Duchess’s descendants at Boughton House. This copy, commissioned by William Byrd II, descended in the Byrd family.

Reference: Left in Mary Willing Byrd’s will to Maria Horsmanden Byrd Page (Mrs. John Page) as “Dutches of Montaigne.”

Dimensions: 49 1/2 x 40 1/4 in. (125.73 x 102.24 cm.)

The subject is seated and represented in profile. She wears a blue wrap dress and holds a small ball of thread. She sits in front of architectural elements and a view to a garden with a fountain is visible through an archway.

See: Colonial Williamsburg eMuseum; Mary Willing Byrd, “The Will of Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd, of Westover, 1813, with a List of the Westover Portraits,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 6, no. 4 (April 1899): 345-358; David Meschutt, “William Byrd and His Portrait Collection,” MESDA Journal 14, no. 1 (May 1988): 18-47; Thomas Thorne, “The Duchess and William Byrd,” Antiques LXXXIV (November 1963): 562-565; Carolyn J. Weekley, Painters and Paintings in the Early American South (2013), 88.

Decade: 1720s
Credits: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Museum Purchase, 1954-309.