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Image of Margaret Dulany Hamilton (?)

John Wollaston , (1710–1775)

Margaret Dulany Hamilton (?)

c. 1753-1754
30 1/8 in. x 25 in. (76.52 cm x 63.5 cm)

Medium and Support: oil on canvas
Credit Line: gift of Mrs. Cornelius N. Bliss
Accession Number: 1944.79


The third of the Addison family portraits, Margaret Dulany Murdock by the English-born and -trained John Wollaston (active 1742–1775), documents the close ties through marriage of the Dulany and Addison families in the eighteenth century. Margaret was the fifth child and third daughter of Daniel Dulany who had immigrated to Maryland in 1703. Dulany established himself in Annapolis as a man of great wealth and position; the biographer of fellow barrister Stephen Boardley, with whom Dulany competed politically and socially, has called Daniel and his son, "Annapolis grandees." In fact, the Dulany family historian describes Councillor Dulany's house as outdoing "in magnificence most of the houses of even the wealthy official class." Inventories at Dulany's death in 1753 noted Hogarth's Marriage-a-la-Mode prints hanging in the hall and the parlor hung with family portraits by Wollaston and others. Family letters mention at least three portraits of the Dulany daughters by Wollaston; this of Margaret, one of her sister Rachael, and a third, perhaps of Rebecca or of Mary--the latter two unlocated at present.

"John Wollaston's arrival in New York in 1749 from London signaled major changes in American art," states art historian Richard Saunders. "The new look emphasized rich, brightly colored fabrics, sprightly and at times informal poses, and smiling faces. [Wollaston] introduced compositions and techniques that were then fashionable in London, where his training had been with 'a noted drapery painter . . . ."' Inhis nearly twenty years in the colonies, the peripatetic

Wollaston traveled from New York to Philadelphia in 1752, to Annapolis in 1753, Virginia, 1755-57, the West Indies, 1759-64, and finally to Charleston, 1765–1775, before returning to London. Wollaston painted approximately sixty portraits in the two years he was in Maryland. The March 15,1753 Maryland Gazette praised his work in a poem by 'Dr. T.T.,' called "On Seeing Mr. Wollaston's Pictures, in Annapolis." Wollaston influenced a number of younger artists, including John Hesselius, to whom he passed on his propensity to paint sitters with upturned mouths and oval, almond-shaped eyes.

In 1753-5 Margaret Dulany would have been married to her first husband, Dr. Alexander Hamilton, a well-respected and well-connected Annapolis physician. Her sister Rachael, the subject of another Wollaston portrait, had married Reverend Henry Addison in 1751. At Hamilton's death, Margaret married William Murdock whose first wife had been Ann Addison, sister of Reverend Henry; their daughter Rebecca married Reverend Henry's son Anthony.

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Your current search criteria is: Exhibition is "The Art of Ambition in the Colonial Northeast".