Lady Mary Wortley Montagu by Jonathan Richardson

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014

 

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
by Jonathan Richardson (c. 1726)

Collection of the Earl of Harrowby

When Richardson painted Lady Mary in her Turkish robes in about 1726, no one bothered to note name of the young black boy standing beside her in the shadows. He wears an outsized red coat and a silver collar around his neck. In The Speckled Monster, he is Jackey, Zabdiel Boylston’s slave:

“All that morning and into the afternoon, Zabdiel stood with his friends and watched the image of Lady Mary bloom upon Mr. Richardson’s canvas, as the painter captured the uptilt of her shoes, the light that skated like gold wine from the falls of her caftan, the jewels winking at her waist and cascading over one ear. Most amazingly, Mr. Richardson caught the glitter of her eyes fixed on them all with challenge and with pride. Behind her, in the shadow of his parasol, Jackey peered up at her with much the same intensity, his almond eyes fusing awe and fury.”

 

The Speckled Monster

 




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