Sarah Vaughan (née Hallowell), the wife of merchant Samuel Vaughan, is shown with her sewing basket on the table next to her. She wears the fruits of her husband’s success: pendant earrings, a pearl necklace and elaborate bracelet. Their son, Richard, holds a book, referring back to those in the companion portrait of his father (GAC 16744).
Artist Robert Edge Pine painted this pair of portraits in London, where Samuel Vaughan, a West Indian trader and planter, had settled and become a prominent businessman. Sarah Vaughan was the daughter of Benjamin Hallowell of Boston, Massachusetts. Samuel became one of Pine's most important patrons and he, his wife and all of their eleven children sat to the artist.
The Government Art Collection purchased these portraits at Sotheby's, London, in 1990, when they were sold by a descendant of the sitter. A group portrait of Vaughan’s children: Sarah, Samuel, Barbara, Rebecca and Hannah; and a single portrait of their son, Richard, all by Pine, were also included in the sale.
Portrait painter Robert Edge Pine, son of the engraver John Pine, was born in London and practiced in London and Bath. He moved to the United States, believing his talents were unappreciated in England, and also sympathetic to the American cause. By August 1784 he had settled with his family in Philadelphia, where he was assisted by painter Charles Wilson Peale. In the spring of 1785 he visited Mount Vernon for about three weeks and painted portraits of George Washington and others. Pine intended to paint a series of portraits of prominent men of the Revolutionary era, each illustrating a moment in history. However, after his death many of his paintings were destroyed in a fire in 1803 at Bowen’s Columbian Museum in Boston.
Sarah Vaughan (née Hallowell) (1727-1809) and her son Richard Vaughan
Oil on canvas
height: 126.00 cm, width: 100.00 cm
Purchased from Sotheby's, 11 July 1990
By descent in the Vaughan family to Miss Vaughan, later Mrs Dove; thence by family descent; 'the property of a gentleman'; by whom sold through Sotheby's, London, 'British Paintings' sale, on 11 July 1990 (Lot 38); from which sale purchased by the Government Art Collection
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