Miniature portrait of Sally Foster Otis (1770-1836)

Collection Type

  • Art






This miniature watercolor on ivory depicts Mrs. Harrison Gray (Sally Foster) Otis from the waist up wearing an orange dress and a pearl necklace with a carnelian cross pendant. It is set within a bronze-colored frame with a molded leaf and berry pattern border surrounding an orange velvet mat with an oval opening with a bronze edge.


Descriptive Terms

miniatures (paintings)
watercolor (paint)
ivory (tooth component)
gilt bronze
velvet (fabric weave)


In her 1804 portrait, Sally Foster Otis, wife of Harrison Gray Otis - who served as a US senator and mayor of Boston - wore a carnelian cross on a string of pearls. Renowned for her beauty and sparkling conversation, Mrs. Otis was the toast of Washington society.
In "Cherished Possessions"


Ink: "Sally Foster Otis born Janry 21 1770 / wife of Honble. Harrison Gray Otis" Mark: "FE" Engraved: "Susse. Fres" (Ink, Mark and Stamp)

Associated Person

Otis, Harrison Gray, 1765-1848
Otis, Sally (Foster), 1770-1836

Associated Building

Associated With Harrison Gray Otis House, First House (Boston, Mass.),

Additional Identification Number

1947.783 (digital)


Malbone, Edward Greene, 1777-1807 (Artist)

Location of Origin

Boston, Massachusetts, United States, New England


6 x 5 1/4 x 3/4 (HxWxD) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Sophia H. Ritchie

Accession Number


Exhibition Notes

"Art and Commerce in Early New England," presented by Bank of Boston, 1984; "Hidden Treasures from Elegant Eras," Historic Jewelry from the Collections of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities presented by Shreve, Crump & Low, September 15 - November 30, 1995; "Cherished Possessions: A New England Legacy," Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, July 2003 to October 2005; "Jewelry at Historic New England," Online exhibit presented by Historic New England launched September 30, 2007 at

Reference Notes

This miniature is illustrated in Nylander, Richard, "The Magazine Antiques," June 1975, 107: 1139; Carlisle, Nancy, "Cherished Possessions," 2003: 206-208; Fales, Martha Gandy, "Jewelry in America," p. 124;


Massachusetts (United States)
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)

Related Items

Title Miniature of Harrison Gray Otis Accession Number 1947.782
Title Cornelian Necklace Accession Number 1967.58