Mrs. Samuel Prioleau (Catherine Cordes)

Charles Fraser1820

Gibbes Museum of Art

Gibbes Museum of Art

Mrs. Prioleau was eighty-five when Fraser painted her portrait. She was the daughter of Catherine Cordes and the daughter-in-law of Samuel and Providence Hext Prioleau. During the siege of Charleston by the British in 1780 Mrs. Prioleau and her child were sent to Philadelphia while her husband was imprisoned at St. Augustine. Like several other portraits of this period, the likeness of Mrs. Prioleau is a sensitive study of an older person. With few distractions, Fraser makes the viewer concentrate on the sitter's face with its strong, dark eyes. The warm hues of the background enhance the humanity of the subject. Fraser was paid $50 for this portrait, which is listed in his account book.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Mrs. Samuel Prioleau (Catherine Cordes)
  • Creator: Charles Fraser
  • Date Created: 1820
  • Signature: verso
  • Physical Dimensions: w3.12 x h3.87 in
  • Dimensions: 3 7/8 x 3 1/8 inches
  • Type: Miniature
  • Rights: Museum purchase with funds provided by the Victor Morawetz Fund
  • External Link: Gibbes Museum of Art
  • Medium: watercolor on ivory