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Mrs. Robert Nicholls (Henrietta Overing) Auchmuty

Gilbert Stuart

American Art

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)
SIGNATURE Unsigned
COLLECTIONS American Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 21.55
CREDIT LINE Gift of Herbert L. Pratt
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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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
IMAGE overall, 21.55_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (85%)
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