Thomas Lee was the son of Richard Lee II and Laetitia Corbin Lee. He married Hannah Ludwell of Greensprings in 1722. He lived at Machodoc Plantation. When Machodoc was burned in 1729, he moved his family and built Stratford Hall. The portrait was almost certainly painted in England, possibly in the 1730s, based on the subject’s dress.
Reference: “Stratford whose delightful shades formed the comfort and retirement of my wise and Philosophic grandfather with what a mixture of awe and pious gratification did it afford me sitting on one of the sophas of the great Hall, to trace the family resemblance in the portraits of all my dear mother’s forefathers–her father & mother grandfather & grandmother and so upwards for four generations! Their pictures have been drawn by the most eminent English artists and in large gilt frames adorn one of the most spacious & beautiful Halls I have seen. There is something truly noble in my grandfather’s picture–He is dressed in a large wig flowing over his shoulders (probably in his official wig as President of the Council) and a loose gown as it is my desire to convey to you some idea of the stile of the picture. But it is his physiognomy that strikes you with emotion–A blend of goodness and greatness, and a heavenly countenance–Such I have almost never seen. Do not think me extravagant–My feelings were certainly so when I dwelt with rapture on the pictures of Stratford and felt so strong an inclination to kneel to that of my grandfather.” from Thomas Lee Shippen to William Shippen, 29 September 1790. Shippen Family Papers.
Dimensions: 30 x 25 in. (76.2 x 63.5 cm.)
The subject wears an elaborately embroidered silver and gold jacket or waistcoat and a red robe. He wears a long white wig. He is turned towards his left and appears inside a painted oval frame.
See: Wayne Craven, Colonial American Portraiture (1986), 226-227.