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American Paintings and Sculpture
Artist: Charles Willson Peale, American, 1741–1827
Subject: Deborah McClenachan Stewart, American, 1763–1823

Deborah McClenachan Stewart (1763–1823)


Oil on canvas

50 1/8 × 40 1/8 × 3/4 in. (127.3 × 101.9 × 1.9 cm)
Gift of Robert L. McNeil, Jr., B.S. 1936S

Music, books, and a graceful manner mark this richly gowned young woman as aristocratic and cultivated. Charles Willson Peale, one of America’s leading portraitists, painted eighteen-year-old Deborah McClenachan’s portrait on the occasion of her marriage to Colonel Walter Stewart, aide-de-camp to General Horatio Gates in the Revolutionary War. She wears two miniatures: on her left arm, an image probably of her father, a well-to-do Philadelphia merchant; on her right, set in a multistranded pearl-and-gold bracelet, an image of her new husband.

Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
On view
18th century

Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 206–7, no. 110, ill.

Carol Soltis, The Art of the Peales in the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Adaptations and Innovations (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2017), 36, fig. 2.1.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.