Elizabeth McClure or Cecil Carnan, Mrs. Mordecai Gist

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Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741–1827)
Elizabeth McClure or Cecil Carnan, Mrs. Mordecai Gist, 1774–75
Oil on canvas
30 × 25 1/8 in. (76.2 × 63.82 cm)
Layton Art Collection Inc. L1958.1
Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Currently on View
K221

Like John Singleton Copley's painting of Alice Hooper in the adjacent gallery, in this portrait of Cecil Carnan, the subject is about marriage and womanhood: the lilac branches the sitter cradles in her hands are emblems of love, and the verbena sprig tucked in her bodice, a symbol of purity. Born into a family of wealthy London merchants, Cecil came to America upon the occasion of her marriage to Mordecai Gist, a Baltimore trader who did business with the Carnans. Cecil’s marriage was thus itself a result of the period’s international commerce and trade.

Publication History
Eastberg, John C. and Eric Vogel. Layton’s Legacy: A Historic American Art Collection 1888–2013. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Layton Art Collection, Inc., 2013, pp. 18, 34, 306–09, 322, 411, and 460, color pl. 26, p. 306, color detail pp. 308–309, color illus. 322.

Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 27 and 69, cat. 39, color illus. p. 27.

Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 101, color illus.

Brazeau, Linda. Art of an Emergent Nation: American Painting 1775-1865. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Art History Gallery, 1988, p. 5, cat. 1, b/w illus.

Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 71, color illus. p. 71.

Vogel, Ann H., ed. Focus: The Flower in Art; Selections from the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 24, cat. 22.

Sellers, Charles Coleman. Charles Willson Peale. New York: Scribner, 1969, p. 88, no. 300, cut 81.

Channel 4 Milwaukee. Heritage show with Hansen gloves. November 18, 1964.

Milwaukee Journal, December 9, 1961, b/w illus.

Milwaukee Journal, August 17, 1958.

Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts. Sir Joshua Reynolds and His American Contemporaries. Columbus, Ohio: Columbus Gallery Fine Arts, 1958, no. 40.

Baltimore Museum of Art. 200 Years of Painting in Maryland. Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art, 1945, No. 26.
Exhibition History
Art of an Emergent Nation: American Painting 1775–1865, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Art History Gallery, February 14–March 27, 1988.

Focus: The Flower in Art; Selections from the Permanent Collection, Milwaukee Art Museum, July 10–August 17, 1986.

150 Years of American Painting: 1755–1960, Theodore Wright Art Center, Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin, September 13–October 28, 1959; John Nelson Bergstrom Art Center, Neenah, Wisconsin, November 25–December 20, 1959.

Sir Joshua Reynolds and His American Contemporaries, Columbus Gallery Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio, January 30–March 2, 1958.

200 Years of Painting in Maryland, Baltimore Museum of Art, 1945.


This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.