Lucinda Armistead (Gillies) Mutter
SITTER: Lucinda Armistead Gillies (1792-1814), a descendant of both the Lee and Carter families. In 1807, at fifteen, she married John Moore Mütter, a prosperious Richmond merchant. Lucinda died in Maryland in 1814 following the birth of the couple’s second son.
ARTIST: The artist Cephas Thompson was born in Massachusetts in 1775. He spent the majority of his artistic career in the South. His “Memorandum of Portraits” in the Boston Athenaeum records 541 canvases, 333 of which were done in Virginia: 80 in Alexandria between 1807-1809; 149 in Richmond between 1809-1811; and 104 in Norfolk between 1811-1812. “Mr Mütter” and “Mrs Mütter” are recorded in the Memorandum between “Spotzwood Henry” and “Miss Abby Harison.”
The primary reference work on Cephas Thompson is Deborah L. Sisum’s article “‘A Most Favorable and Striking Resemblance’”: The Virginia Portraits of Cephas Thompson” published in the Summer 1997 Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts. (https://archive.org/details/journalofearlyso2311997muse) The article accompanied an exhibition of Thompson’s Virginia portraits at the Lyceum in Alexandria, Virginia. The Journal also published a transcription of the complete Memorandum and a biographical dictionary of Thompson’s Virginia sitters.
FRAME: The oak leaf carved frame with gilt liners is early, if not original, to the portrait.