Tabitha Scarborough Custis Arbuckle (Mrs. James Arbuckle, ca. 1736-ca. 1790) and Edward Arbuckle

Date: 1766

Tabitha Arbuckle was the daughter of Henry Custis (d. 1751), wife of James Arbuckle, and mother of Edward Arbuckle. The artist, Charles Willson Peale, lived with the Arbuckle family at their home at Custis Neck in Accomack County for about six months in 1766. In Peale’s Autobiography, he wrote, “Mr. Arbuckle was a Man of kind & Generous disposition. He had his own, his Ladys and Childs portraits done immediately. and his having an Ingenous turn of mind, they lived happily togather for 6 months. The congeniality of their Sentiments; their alike fondness for Mechanicks; for arts, & for Musick, gave them ample food for their active minds…”

Dimensions: 47 1/2 x 36 in. (12.65 x 91.44 cm.)

The portrait represents a woman wearing a blue dress with stomacher, cap with blue ribbon, and sheer fichu. She sits in a green upholstered chair with one arm around her young son. The child wears a brown jacket and light blue waistcoat and leans over her lap. The mother holds cherries in her lap. A red drapery swag is on the right and the background is plain.

See: Peale’s Autobiography, in Lillian Miller, ed., Selected Papers of Charles Willson Peale and his Family, V (1983): 24; Charles Coleman Sellers, “Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 42 (1952): 24; FARL¬†

Decade: 1760s
Credits: Private collection. Photograph by Ira W. Martin, courtesy of the Frick Art Reference Library.