Skip Navigation

Mrs. Sylvester (Abigail Pickman) Gardiner

John Singleton Copley

American Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830, 5th Floor
About 1760 Miguel Cabrera painted Doña María de la Luz, a Creole patron of well-known lineage, without the lengthy biographical inscription that often appeared in portraits of the period. His subject wears a fine silk brocade dress enhanced by jewelry and many chiqueadores, or glued false beauty spots made of black velvet.

John Singleton Copley, on the other hand, depicted his wealthy Boston sitter in a daring costume à la turque, which was all the rage in London and undoubtedly served to attest to Mrs. Gardiner’s social status and modern taste. Her rather impassive gaze and exuberant wardrobe—traits she shares with her Spanish colonial counterpart—were at this moment hallmarks of prevailing taste in both empires.

Alrededor de 1760 Miguel Cabrera pintó a doña María de la Luz, mecenas criolla de conocido linaje, sin la larga inscripción biográfica que solía aparecer en los retratos de la época. La modelo lleva un fino vestido de brocado de seda, adornado con joyería y muchos chiqueadores (lunares falsos hechos de terciopelo negro).

Por otro lado, John Singleton Copley representa a su adinerada modelo bostoniana llevando un atrevido disfraz à la turque, al último grito de la moda en Londres, que indudablemente sirvió para dar fe del estatus social y gusto moderno de la Sra. Gardiner. Su mirada imperturbable y ropas extravagantes—rasgos que comparte con su contraparte colonial española—eran en esos tiempos sellos del gusto prevalente en ambos imperios.

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES ca. 1772
DIMENSIONS 50 3/8 x 40 in. (128 x 101.6 cm) frame: 58 1/4 x 49 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (148 x 125.7 x 8.9 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.

You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact (charges apply).

The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.

The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
CAPTION John Singleton Copley (American, 1738-1815). Mrs. Sylvester (Abigail Pickman) Gardiner, ca. 1772. Oil on canvas, 50 3/8 x 40 in. (128 x 101.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 65.60
IMAGE x-ray, detail, CONS.65.60_xrs_detail07.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.