Robert “King” Carter (ca. 1664-1732)

Artist: Unknown
Date: probably 1690-1726

Robert Carter became one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in Virginia. He was the son of John Carter the immigrant (ca. 1613-1670) and his fourth wife, Sarah Ludlow Carter. He married first, Judith Armistead, and second, Elizabeth Landon. This portrait of him descended from his son John who inherited Corotoman and Shirley Plantations. It descended with a portrait identified as his first wife, Judith Armistead Carter who died in 1699. The suggested date for their portraits is the 1690s based on her death, though they could be as late as the 1720s.

Possible Reference: “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

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

The subject wears red jacket and waistcoat, and a wig with a ponytail over his left shoulder. His right hand is in his waistcoat. His left hand rests on a slab. A window with view of trees is behind him.

See: Graham Hood, Charles Bridges and William Dering: Two Virginia Painters, 1735-1750 (1975), 70-78; Edmund Berkeley, Jr., ed., The Diary, Correspondence, and Papers of Robert “King” Carter of Virginia, 1701-1732 (2009), 25; Carolyn J. Weekley, Painters and Paintings in the Early American South (2013), 84; Wayne Craven, Colonial American Portraiture (1986), 214-216; Encyclopedia Virginia¬†

Family: Carter
Credits: Courtesy of Shirley Plantation.