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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Henrietta Johnston

b. circa 1670, probably Ireland; d. circa 1729, buried Charleston, South Carolina

Henrietta Johnston emigrated from Ireland to America in 1707 with her husband, an Anglican clergyman, and settled in Charleston, South Carolina. To supplement the family income, Johnston executed small pastel portraits and soon acquired a sizeable clientele among prominent locals, including military leaders, politicians, and philanthropists. Nothing is known of her early training, although her extant oeuvre—some forty pastels—includes works made in Ireland. Widowed in 1716, she continued to support herself as an artist.