Mary Toppan Pickman (1744–1817) Artist: John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)


American Paintings and Sculpture

Not on view

Boston-born John Singleton Copley was colonial America's leading artist and first great portrait painter. His style of directness, intimacy, austerity, and subdued color strengthened the emphasis on human character. Mary Toppan Pickman, the daughter of a prominent physician in Salem, Massachusetts, sat for the portrait a year after her marriage to Benjamin Pickman, whom Copley painted several years earlier (1966.79.2). Showing her in a fashionable dress of satin and lace, Copley captures both her stylish presence and her youthful dignity. When Benjamin left for England in 1775, Mary stayed behind in Salem, attending to the education of their four children and managing the estate during her husband's ten-year absence.


Oil on canvas


50 × 40 in. (127 × 101.6 cm)

Credit Line

Bequest of Edith Malvina K. Wetmore

Accession Number



18th century


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 records is ongoing.

  • Margaretta M. Lovell, Art in a Season of Revolution: Painters, Artisans, and Patrons in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), 73, fig. 31
  • Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley: In America, 1738–1774 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966), 38, fig. 115
  • Charles Crehore Cunningham, John Singleton Copley, 1738–1815, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1938), 26, fig. 61
  • An Exhibition of Paintings by John Singleton Copley, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1937), fig. 9
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type



Signed lower center "J.S. Copley. Pinx. 1763/ AE 19"

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