Portrait of Mary Willis Duncan (1805-1888)

Collection Type

  • Art


19th century




Oil portrait of Mary Willis Duncan. The woman is seated on a red couch with her right arm resting on the arm of the couch. The woman has brown hair and gray-blue eyes. She is wearing a black dress with puffed sleeves and a chiffon collar. There is a brooch attached to the collar and she is wearing a red shawl over her right shoulder. The background is light green. Gilt frame.


Descriptive Terms

oil paintings (visual works)
multiple-seating furniture
oil paint (paint)
wood (plant material)


"Mary Willis Duncan / (Mrs. James H. Duncan" / Haverhill, Mass. (1805-1888)" (Handwritten note on index card in accession file. )
Mrs. James H. Duncan from a painting in oil on canvass / now (1934) in the possession of her grandson Stephen W. Phillips / of Salem. Mary Willis was born December 15, 1806 and married / June 28, 1826 James H. Duncan of Haverhill. This portrait / and a companion one of Mr. Duncan were painted soon after / they were married and settled in Haverhill by a wandering / artist, name unknown, who came to Haverhill. The one of / Mr. Duncan now in the possession of Mrs. Samuel W. Duncan of / Newton is not very good. Although the family including my / grandmother herself had a poor opinion of this picture I / have always thought it gave a very good idea of Mrs. Duncan / when she was a young of which we have no other picture. / the hair and costume are interesting. Mrs. A. Clive Edwards, / the expert restorer, who put this picture in order for me in / about 1926 told me that there were a number of portraits in / Exeter, N. H. painted she was sure by the same man as the / treatment of the lace around the neck was exactly the same. / April 27, 1934. / Stephen W. Phillips” (Typed letter in accession file. )

Associated Person

Duncan, Mary Willis, 1805-1888

Associated Building

Original to Phillips House (Salem, Mass.),

Additional Identification Number



Edwards, A. Clive, Mrs. (Restorer)


39 3/16 x 33 2/16 x 2 14/16 (HxWxD) (inches)

Credit Line

Gift of the Stephen Phillips Memorial Charitable Trust for Historic Preservation

Accession Number