Teresa Blount (1691-1761)

Date: probably 1710-1726

This portrait was called “Mr Blunt” in the 1813 will of Mary Willing Byrd, however, that appears to have been an error. It was once identified as Martha Blount, but is now believed to represent her sister, Teresa Blount. The sisters were prominent social figures in the 1710s and close to the author Alexander Pope. This portrait was acquired by William Byrd II.

Reference: A portrait of “Mr Blunt” was bequeathed to William Powell Byrd in the will of Mary Willing Byrd

The subject is seated at a spinet (possibly a harpsichord). The dress now appears yellow because of faded pigment, but it was once red. She holds a sheet of music that reads “Climene. Sung by Mrs. Toft.” The instrument bears the signature of its maker, “Franciscus Coston Fecit Londo[n].”

See: Mary Willing Byrd, “The Will of Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd, of Westover, 1813, with a List of the Westover Portraits,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 6, no. 4 (April 1899): 345-358; David Meschutt, “William Byrd and His Portrait Collection,” MESDA Journal 14, no. 1 (May 1988): 18-47; Curtis Price and William M.S. Rasmussen, “Musical Images in a Portrait of Teresa Blount,” Early Music 24, 1 (February 1996): 64-76.

Decade: 1710s1720s
Credits: Courtesy of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, 1993.14.