Skip Navigation

Mrs. Robert Nicholls (Henrietta Overing) Auchmuty

Gilbert Stuart

American Art

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
To explain and legitimize their place within the imperial system, the Spanish American moneyed elite displayed titles and coats of arms in portraits as proud markers of rank. Here, Mexico City’s Creole marquesa of Rivas Cacho, adorned with diamond and pearl earrings, appears beside her family’s coat of arms.

The more understated dress of Mrs. Robert Nicholls Auchmuty, painted in the same year by Gilbert Stuart, reflects the relative restraint of the former British American colonies, where noble titles did not exist. Both ladies wear their era’s fashionable high Empire-waist dresses, Mrs. Auchmuty’s of formal black silk taffeta and Doña Josefa’s of equally expensive but less elaborate embroidered white cotton muslin.

Para explicar y legitimar su lugar en el sistema imperial, la rica élite hispanoamericana exhibía orgullosamente títulos y escudos de armas en retratos como indicadores de rango. Aquí, la marquesa de Rivas Cacho, de la Ciudad de México, adornada con diamantes y aretes de perlas, aparece junto al escudo de armas de su familia.

El vestido un poco más recatado de la Sra. de Robert Nicholls Auchmuty, pintado el mismo año por Gilbert Stuart, refleja la relativa modestia de las ex-colonias británicoamericanas, donde los títulos nobiliarios no existían. Ambas damas llevan vestidos de estilo imperio de cintura alta a la moda de su tiempo, el de la Sra. Auchmuty formal de tafetán de seda negra y el de doña Josefa de muselina de algodón blanco, igual de costoso pero menos elaborado.

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1816
DIMENSIONS 34 1/8 x 28 1/16 in. (86.6 x 71.2 cm) frame: 41 1/4 x 35 5/8 x 3 3/4 in. (104.8 x 90.5 x 9.5 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Herbert L. Pratt
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
CAPTION Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828). Mrs. Robert Nicholls (Henrietta Overing) Auchmuty, 1816. Oil on canvas, 34 1/8 x 28 1/16 in. (86.6 x 71.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Herbert L. Pratt, 21.55 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 21.55_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 21.55_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
"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.
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 fill out our online application form (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
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.