One of several portraits of Philadelphia's McCall family, this painting features a young woman standing erect in front of an Ionic column and beside a swath of crimson drapery and a Rococo marble-topped table on which she rests her hand. Imposing, elegant, and spare, it shows how Robert Feke provided dignified portraits for his clientele, whether in Philadelphia, Boston, Virginia, or Barbados.

The first major native-born artist of the British North American colonies, Feke is known for his relatively large, impressive portraits. He borrowed from the tradition of Baroque portraiture, including swags of brightly colored drapery, columns, elegant dresses, and props. His grand portraits of colonists dressed and posed in the guise of English nobility evoke a quality of dignity and grace, and as exemplified in this excellent example, showcase a combination of grandeur and simplicity.

At the time Feke painted Anne McCall, she had been married for nine years to her cousin, Samuel, a prominent Philadelphia merchant. Here, she is dressed in a radiant, crystal-buttoned, blue silk dress, with a salmon pink underskirt, accentuated at the narrow waist by a tassel belt. She gracefully holds a peony in her long, tapering fingers.


  • Title: Portrait of Mrs. Samuel McCall, Sr.
  • Creator: Robert Feke
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Date Created: 1746
  • Physical Dimensions: w101.3 x h126.7 cm (unframed)
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps