Collections › MESDA Collection › Martha Peyton (Gwynn) Graham

Martha Peyton (Gwynn) Graham

Aldridge, William Joseph
Place Made:
Prince William County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
pastel on paper
HOA 22 11/16; WOA 18 13/16 (measurements taken while in the frame, back only; not frame measurements)
Accession Number:
SITTER: Martha Peyton (Gwynn) Graham, (b.1766) was born on February 2, 1766 at Gwynn’s Island, Gloucester County, Virginia in Gloucester County, to Humphrey Gwynn (1727-1794) and Frances Peyton (d.1809) of Gloucester County, Virginia. She married Robert Graham (1751-1821) of Prince William County, Virginia. Robert Graham was Clerk of Court for Prince William County between 1777-1794. Robert was the son of a successful Scottish merchant John Graham (1711-1787), who founded the town of Dumfries, Virginia, and established Graham Park Plantation in Prince William County. Painted in 1808, Martha Graham was 42 years old at the time of the portrait.

ARTIST: Little is known about the artist William Joseph Aldridge (b.1751). On May 14, 1799, the Norfolk Herald recorded, “Married – On Saturday Evening last Mr. W. Joseph ALDRIDGE of Alexandria, to Mrs. Dorothy REYNOLDS of this place.” He may be the William Aldridge who dies in Loudoun County in 1823 with an estate that includes boxes of old frames and broken glass.

The MESDA Object Database records eight other works by Aldridge. Five pastel portraits are in the Colonial Williamsburg collection: Captain Elias Edmonds (1768-1811) (CWF acc. 1991.200.1); Marion Margaret Morson Payne (1802-1842) (CWF acc. 2010.200.1); Sarah Battaile (Fizhugh) Edmonds (1785-1778) (CWF acc. 1988.200.1); Sarah Bell (CWF acc. 1978.140); and an unidentified member of the Bell family (CWF acc 1978.141). In addition, Colonial Williamsburg also has a pair of portrait sketches by the artist of Colonel William Edmonds (1734-1816) and Elizabeth Blackwell Edmonds (1741-1817) (CWF acc. 2007.200.1). All five of the above sitters lived in Fauquier County. A pastel portrait of Allen Williams of Clarke County, Virginia, is also recorded.

Credit Line:
Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Williams III Purchase Fund