The portrait of sixteen-year-old Deborah Hall demonstrates the rich and multilayered language of symbols at the disposal of portraitists in British America. William Williams portrayed his young subject in a fictional, carefully designed landscape standing alongside a relief sculpture of Apollo and Daphne, who escaped the god’s unwelcome advances by turning into a laurel tree. This detail refers to both the sitter’s chastity and her liberal education and refined upbringing. The sitter’s rose-colored dress, known as an “open robe,” not only attests to her au courant style but also acts as an unmistakable signifier of her family’s wealth and social status.
El retrato de Deborah Hall a los dieciséis años demuestra el rico y multifacético lenguaje simbólico a disposición de los retratistas en la América británica. William Williams retrató a su joven modelo de pie en un paisaje ficticio cuidadosamente diseñado, junto a una escultura en relieve de Apolo y Dafne, quien evitó los inoportunos avances del dios convirtiéndose en un árbol de laurel. Este detalle alude tanto a la castidad de la modelo como a su educación liberal y a su crianza refinada. Su vestido rosa, conocido como “bata abierta,” no sólo atestigua su estilo au courant, sino que actúa también como indicador inequívoco de la riqueza de su familia y de su estatus social.
Oil on canvas
71 3/8 x 46 3/8 in. (181.3 x 117.8 cm)
frame: 78 1/2 x 53 1/4 x 2 1/2 in. (199.4 x 135.3 x 6.4 cm) (show scale)
Signed lower left: "Wm. Williams 1766"
This item is not on view
Dick S. Ramsay Fund
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
William Williams (American, 1727-1791, active in America 1746-1776). Deborah Hall, 1766. Oil on canvas, 71 3/8 x 46 3/8 in. (181.3 x 117.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 42.45
overall, 42.45_SL3.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.