Eliza Parke Custis

Manner of Cosway


Painted in watercolour on lightweight laid paper, this portrait shows a young lady with large brown eyes and loose curls wearing a décolleté dress with a lace collar set against a cloudy blue sky background. A label identifies her as Eliza Parke Custis, the eldest granddaughter of Martha Washington.

Elizabeth (Eliza) was born in Maryland in 1776. At the age of twenty she married 40 year old Thomas Law, a wealthy Englishman who had made his fortune with the East India Company. They had a daughter together but the marriage soon ended in divorce. She died in 1831 and is buried at Mount Vernon.

The portrait is indistinctly signed with a monogram. It is one of a small collection of recently acquired nineteenth century watercolour portraits of named Georgian ladies all painted by the same unknown hand; many are copies of known portrait miniatures by Richard Cosway. In fine condition, the colours remain fresh and unfaded. It resides in a period oval pressed brass frame.

Item Ref. 3794

Size: framed, 103 x 95mm (4¼ x 3¾")