Mary Willing Byrd (Mrs. William Byrd III, 1740-1814)

Date: 1773

Mary Willing Byrd was the daughter of Charles Willing and Anne Shippen Willing of Philadelphia. She married William Byrd III in Philadelphia in 1761. She was his second wife. She was the mother of Maria Horsmanden Byrd Page, Evelyn Taylor Byrd Harrison, Abigail Byrd Nelson, Anne Willing Byrd, Charles Willing Byrd, Richard Willing Byrd, and William Byrd. She was also painted alongside her daughter by the artist Cosmo Alexander.

Her will states “I give to my said daughter M[aria] H[orsmanden] Page the portrait of her honored father and one of myself.” She was likely referring to this portrait, which descended with one of her husband.

Dimensions: 30 x 25 in. (76.8 x 64.5 cm.)

The portrait represents a woman wearing a blue wrap or gown with pink lining over a white dress. Her hair is woven with pearls and a gold-embroidered white scarf. She appears in a painted oval frame and is turned three-quarters to her right.

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; Encyclopedia Virginia 

Family: Byrd
Decade: 1770s
Credits: Courtesy Library of Virginia.