Mary Campbell was an active philanthropist and upon her death her home became the Campbell Argyle London Home for indigent women of Presbyterian and Huguenot descent. The eldest of the three Campbell children whom Fraser painted in 1845, Mary would have been six years old at the time of her portrait. A sweet and delicate portrayal, Mary's figure is less awkwardly proportioned than her brother's and sister's although her head still appears too large for her body. Fraser, himself a bachelor, may have found children's portraits difficult, and the children, in turn, probably did not enjoy sitting before the sixty-three year old artist. The basket of flowers in Mary's lap and the hints of landscape to the right relate to similar details in the portraits of Mary Ford and Rosamond Pringle, and may be considered stock items.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1984