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Three-quarter length portrait depicts Mary Edwards Honey, seated, holding a teacup. Her arm rests on a gilt chair softened by blue pillows. The portrait was displayed in a later maple frame with a gilded scroll and shell interior border.
oil paint (paint)
"Mementos: Jewelry of Life and Love from Historic New England": The arrow, Cupid's favorite weapon, was a popular symbol of affection. Jane Stuart, the daughter of portrait artist Gilbert Stuart, painted Mary Edwards Honey dressed in the latest fashion for evening entertaining in the late 1860s. Mary wears a large Cupid's arrow brooch pinned in her lace collar.
How do we know the painting is by Jane Stuart? Jane made her living in Newport, Rhode Island, painting portraits and copies of her famous father's work. According to Honey family history, lawyer Samuel Honey lived nearby, so Jane asked him to draft her will. As compensation for his legal services Jane painted this portrait of the lawyer's young wife.
The daughter of a conservative Philadelphia family, Mary Edwards met her future husband at a dinner party held in Washington, D.C. as the Civil War was ending. Samuel Honey, an English lawyer who came to the United States in the 1840s, volunteered for service with the Northern army. The couple settled in Newport, Rhode Island where Colonel Honey drafted Jane Stuart's will. The daughter of Gilbert Stuart, Jane made her living painting portraits, illustrations, and copies of her famous father's work. In recompense for his legal services, Jane painted two portraits of her lawyer's lovely young wife. Mrs. Honey is dressed in the latest fashion for evening entertaining in the late 1860s, displaying a large cupid's arrow brooch pinned in her lace fichu, a common jeweled love token, along with a jeweled tiara and sizeable diamond engagement ring. Mary Honey, the daughter of Mary and Samuel Honey, married widower and former Mayor of Boston, Josiah B. Quincy, in 1905.
Mary Edwards Honey
Attributed to Stuart, Jane (Artist)
37 x 29.5 (HxW) (inches)
Estate of Vera G. Honey
Title Portrait Picture Accession Number 3.1976