Mrs. Prioleau was eighty-five when Fraser painted her portrait. She was the daughter of Catherine Cordes and the daughter-in-law of Samuel and Providence Hext Prioleau. During the siege of Charleston by the British in 1780 Mrs. Prioleau and her child were sent to Philadelphia while her husband was imprisoned at St. Augustine.
Like several other portraits of this period, the likeness of Mrs. Prioleau is a sensitive study of an older person. With few distractions, Fraser makes the viewer concentrate on the sitter's face with its strong, dark eyes. The warm hues of the background enhance the humanity of the subject. Fraser was paid $50 for this portrait, which is listed in his account book.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1984