Artist: Vallée, Jean François de la Date: ca. 1803
Mary Shoolbred was the maternal grandmother of James Shoolbred Gibbes, benefactor of the Carolina Art Association and the Gibbes Museum of Art. Her husband was the first British Consul at Charleston. While the dark slate-colored background is very typical of Vallee's work, the costuming is especially intriguing: the abundant curls appear to be powdered, a fashion that was out-moded by the time Vallee was in Charleston, and she wears a white kerchief as a shawl across her shoulders. The choker necklace and dangling earrings add decorative elements to an otherwise austere rendering.
This text is adapted from Martha Severens "The Miniature Portrait Collection of the Carolina Art Association" published by the Carolina Art Association, 1984