The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum
Crystal Bridges Museum

Mrs. Theodore Atkinson Jr. (Frances Deering Wentworth), John Singleton Copley, 1765
When she sat for this lustrous portrait by Copley, the most skillful American painter of the 18th century, Atkinson was 20 and had been married for three years to a prominent Bostonian. The flying squirrel she holds on a gold chain was meant to symbolize a free spirit tamed. Copley may have meant it as a reference to the rumor that before her marriage Atkinson was courted simultaneously by both her future husband and his cousin.

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