Robert “King” Carter (ca. 1664-1732)

Artist: Unknown
Date: probably 1690-1720

The portrait shown here is by Mariette Minnigrode Andrews after an unknown artist, ca. 1900. The Andrews painting of the subject was a copy of an original portrait of Robert Carter that once hung at Oatlands Plantation. Oatlands was Carter land inherited by Robert Carter II, who also owned Nomini Hall. Therefore, the Andrews portrait seems to be a copy of the portrait Robert Carter left to his son Robert in his 1726 will. The ca. 1900 Andrews painting is included here as a reference image and record of a colonial portrait. It is unclear when the original portrait was painted, but likely between 1690-1720. There are two other portraits fo the subject. One descended from his son John Carter, and the other descended from his son Landon Carter.

Reference to the original: “my pictures each Child to have his own picture my son [John] to have my first picture and his mothers also my gold watch and diamond ring my Son Robert to have my other picture & his mothers picture,” Will of Robert “King” Carter, 1726

The subject stands and leans on a carved wooden table upon which are quills, an inkstand, and a letter. He wears a long dark red coat and a white wig. He has a dress sword on his left hip. His left hand is on his hip and his right hand is on his table. A green curtain is behind him.

See: Edmund Berkeley, Jr., ed., The Diary, Correspondence, and Papers of Robert “King” Carter of Virginia, 1701-1732 (2009); Carolyn J. Weekley, Painters and Paintings in the Early American South (2013), 71; Wayne Craven, Colonial American Portraiture (1986), 214-216; Encyclopedia Virginia

Family: Carter
Credits: Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, 1973.15.