Ghost
Mary McCall by Robert Feke, ca 1746 US (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Feke is considered the first important American-born artist.  He developed a style that was distinct from the prevalent English technique practiced in the Colonies.  This “native style” became popular, and Feke earned a living as an itinerant portraitist, traveling between Boston, Philadelphia, and Newport, Rhode Island.  Little is known of Feke; his later life is particularly mysterious.  After embarking from Newport in 1750, possibly bound for commissions in Barbados, he was never heard from again.  Mary McCall was a member of the Philadelphia Dancing Assembly, which hosted dances every two weeks and was a vital part of the social life of colonial Philadelphia.  She holds a single flower, a common device in Feke’s portraits, in this case possibly indicating McCall’s availability for marriage.  Seven years after this portrait was thought to have been painted, McCall married the merchant William Plumstead, whoserved as mayor of Philadelphia in the mid-1750’s.

Mary McCall by Robert Feke, ca 1746 US (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Feke is considered the first important American-born artist.  He developed a style that was distinct from the prevalent English technique practiced in the Colonies.  This “native style” became popular, and Feke earned a living as an itinerant portraitist, traveling between Boston, Philadelphia, and Newport, Rhode Island.  Little is known of Feke; his later life is particularly mysterious.  After embarking from Newport in 1750, possibly bound for commissions in Barbados, he was never heard from again.

Mary McCall was a member of the Philadelphia Dancing Assembly, which hosted dances every two weeks and was a vital part of the social life of colonial Philadelphia.  She holds a single flower, a common device in Feke’s portraits, in this case possibly indicating McCall’s availability for marriage.  Seven years after this portrait was thought to have been painted, McCall married the merchant William Plumstead, whoserved as mayor of Philadelphia in the mid-1750’s.

Baroness Matilde Guiguer de Prangins in her Park at the Lake of Geneva by Jens Juel, 1779, Statens Museum for Kunst
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Baroness Matilde Guiguer de Prangins in her Park at the Lake of Geneva by Jens Juel, 1779, Statens Museum for Kunst

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Selina, Lady Skipwith by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1787 England, the Frick Collection
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Selina, Lady Skipwith by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1787 England, the Frick Collection

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Elizabeth, Countess of Warwick by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ca 1780 England, the Frick Collection
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Elizabeth, Countess of Warwick by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ca 1780 England, the Frick Collection

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Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire with Her Infant Daughter Lady Georgiana Cavendish by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1783 England, the Devonshire Collection

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire with Her Infant Daughter Lady Georgiana Cavendish by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1783 England, the Devonshire Collection

 Lady Elizabeth Delmé and Her Children by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1777-79, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Lady Elizabeth Delmé and Her Children by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1777-79, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

The Artist and His Family by Jame Peale, 1795 US, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
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The Artist and His Family by Jame Peale, 1795 US, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Giant version

Elizabeth Beale Bordley by Gilbert Stuart, ca 1797 US, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Elizabeth Beale Bordley by Gilbert Stuart, ca 1797 US, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Madame de Saint-Huberty in the Role of Dido by Anne Vallayer-Coster, 1785 France, National Museum of Women in the Arts

Madame de Saint-Huberty in the Role of Dido by Anne Vallayer-Coster, 1785 France, National Museum of Women in the Arts

Portrait of Princess Belozersky by Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, 1798, National Museum of Women in the Arts

Portrait of Princess Belozersky by Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, 1798, National Museum of Women in the Arts

Portrait of Catherine Clemens by George Romney, 1788 England, Neue Pinakothek

Portrait of Catherine Clemens by George Romney, 1788 England, Neue Pinakothek

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