Collections › MESDA Collection › Mary (Berry) Beall

Mary (Berry) Beall

Clephan, Lewis
Place Made:
Washington District of Columbia United States of America
Date Made:
oil on canvas
HOA 33 3/4; WOA 25 1/4 (see desc.) __ __ __ __ __ __Dimensions of frame: HOA 43 1/4; WOA 35 1/2
Accession Number:
SITTER: Mary Berry (1780-1853) was the daughter of Zachariah Berry (1749-1845), a planter, and Mary Williams Berry of “Concord”, Prince George’s County, Maryland. She married Otho Berry Beall (1790-1853), son of Samuel Brook Beall (1762- 1842) and his wife Elinor Berry Beall. The couple lived at “Westphalia,” also known as “White House Place,” on White House Road near Ritchie in Prince George’s County, Maryland. They had three children: William Zachariah Beall (1815-1858), Washington Jeremiah Beall (1818-1895), and Zachariah Berry Beall (1825-1859).

ARTIST: Lewis Clephan (1752-1833) was active in New York City as a miniaturist and hairworker from 1787-88. Between 1797-1833 he lived in Washington, D.C., where he worked as a decorative painter at the Capitol and White House, under Dr. William Thornton. He was also the proprietor of a painting, glass, canvas, and frame business. He died in Washington, D.C.

FRAME: Portrait is in highly carved, gilded frame. The canvas is tacked to the sides of the stretcher which appears to be original. Stretcher is mortise and tenoned with pegs at each corner.

RELATED OBJECTS: MESDA also owns a needlework by Mary Beall (MESDA acc. 4347.1) as well as the companion portrait of her husband Otho Berry Beall (MESDA acc. 4347.2). MESDA also owns an additional portrait by Clephan, that of Leonard Harbaugh (MESDA acc. 2501).

DESCRIPTION: 3/4 length portrait of Mrs. Otho Berry Beall (Mary Berry Beall) turning slightly to the left. She sits in a yellow painted fancy chair with her arms folded in her lap; in her proper right hand she holds a flower; to her right is a table with a basket of flowers with a pink curtain draped above. She is wearing a white bonnet with a lace ruffle and tie at top, a beaded necklace and sheer light colored neckerchief; her dress is blue with a white ruffled collar and lace at the sleeve hem; her belt is gold; she has dark hair and eyes and a slight double chin.

This portrait along with a needlework by Mary and the companion portrait of her husband Otho Berry Beall descended in the Beall family and came out of Mt. Lubentia, one of the family homes owned at one time by Otho Berry Beall and given by him to his son, Washington Jeremiah, upon his marriage to Mary Ann Magruder in 1840. The signatures of Zachariah Berry Beall and Martha E. Addison (who became his wife in 1856) are penciled in the plaster of the East wall of the 2nd floor hall of “Mt. Lubentia.”
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Forrest D. Bowie in memory of Mr. Forrest D. Bowie