Mary Willis Burwell (Mrs. Lewis Burwell, ca. 1718-ca. 1746)

Artist: Unknown
Date: probably 1736-1745

Mary Willis Burwell was the daughter of Francis Willis and Ann Rich Willis. Her portrait was almost certainly painted in England along with that of her husband. She married Lewis Burwell in 1736. The portrait descended with her husband’s portrait in the family of her husband’s nephew, Carter Burwell (1716-1756).

Dimensions: 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm.)

The subject is seated outdoors in a landscape. She wears an unusual style of dress in silver with a visible, darker-colored trim running down the center of her bodice and along her neckline and featuring cuffed sleeves. She holds a circular garland of flowers in her lap. Her right elbow rests on a ledge with a small water feature visible near her right knee. The landscape behind her features a clearing in the woods.

See: Sara Lewis, “Mary Willis Burwell’s Portrait Returns to Gloucester,” The Fairfield Foundation Blog; Alexander Wilbourne Weddell, A Memorial Volume of Virginia Historical Portraiture 1585-1830 (1930), 177-178; FARL

Decade: 1730s1740s
Credits: Courtesy of the Fairfield Foundation, Gloucester, Virginia.