Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Portrait of the Week - a Beauty from Brown

Found another New England lovely to add our portrait collection -- though she is a transplant - originally from New Jersey. This one is from Brown University in Providence, RI.  She is Margaret Stites Manning (1740-1815), wife of the first president of the college painted by Cosmo Alexander in 1770.

"James Manning......it is said that his wife, who had been Miss Margaret Stites of Elizabethtown, was lovely in person and possessed of those "elegant accomplishments and superior qualities which well accorded with her husband's character and happily fitted her for the discharge of duties inseparable from public positions of honor and usefulness."....."*

*The New England Magazine' May 1899 Vol XX No. 3, pg's 293-314 - 'Brown University' by Henry Robinson Palmer.

She was born in Oct 16, 1740, so she was thirty when this portrait was painted.

She's dressed a bit more conservatively than our Boston beauties (could that be an 18th century Jersey girl thing or just that she was a Baptist minister's wife?) with her lappet cap fastened under her chin, but her gown is similar, complete with a rosette fastening her handkerchief. Her shift and cuff ruffle peak out from under her sleeve flounce like our other subjects.  I just love how sheer her handkerchief is -- covering but not quite covering.  Too bad we don't see whether or not she is wearing an apron and if that apron is tied over her gown -- rats!  Lots to emulate here.  Enjoy!

Mrs. S.


  1. Nice find Mrs. S...I love that she's a Jersey girl and a Libra. I'm assuming that she's from Elizabeth, NJ? I know that "West Jersey" (today South Jersey outside Philadelphia, nowhere near Elizabeth, NJ) was strongly Quaker in the 18th century. Maybe she was raised Quaker?

  2. Her husband was a Baptist minister, I don't know what her religious affiliation was. From what I've read, Elizabethtown is modern day Elizabeth.

    I'm putting together a portrait of the week post and so far I've found some very interesting women to discuss and great looks to emulate.
    Mrs S