Collections › MESDA Collection › Mary (Hawksworth) Riddell

Mary (Hawksworth) Riddell

Polk, Charles Peale
Place Made:
Baltimore Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
oil on canvas
HOA: 37 1/4; WOA: 35
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Portrait, oil on canvas, of woman and child. The painting has a thin paint film, and it is smooth with no impasto. The woman’s dark hair is piled high on her head, and she wears a yellow dress which is belted with a green sash. A miniature is pinned to her dress at the bosom. She has mourning bracelets on both her wrists and is seated in a neoclassical chair. Lying on the table is a woven basket with a thimble and other sewing materials spilling out. The child is dressed in white with a red, green, and tan sash around her waist. She wears coral around her neck. She stands before a draped, reddish curtain. Aqua blue coloring makes a background for the figures. The figures hold flowers in their hands.
SITTER: As a child, Mary Hawksworth accompanied her father, Colonel Hawksworth, from Inner Temple, London. He took her to Baltimore during the French and Indian War, and they took shelter from a storm at Carrollton, outside of Baltimore. The next morning, Colonel Hawksworth and his party disappeared in an Indian raid. Mary Hawksworth stayed with the Carrolls and befriended Charles Carroll. At age 18, she returned to England, where she was presented to the court of St. James. She wished to return to America and sailed to Baltimore with three ships, two of which sank at sea. In 1790, she married Baltimore merchant Robert Riddell. She is pictured here with her daughter Agnes Riddell (1788-1869), who married Kennedy Owen in December 1806.

PENDANT: The picture on the pendant around Mary Hawksworth’s neck is of her father, Colonel Hawksworth.

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton