Betty and Fielding Lewis

Fielding Lewis
Oil on canvas
Attributed to John Wollaston
Fredericksburg, Virginia
ca. 1755-1757
Fielding Lewis, was a highly respected leader in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County, who served at various times as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. John Thornton, who nominated him to the Militia Commission of Spotsylvania County in 1757, described Lewis as . . .

"a Gent of fortune and Character.and much esteemed by the people, who make no doubt would readily exert themselves under such agent in the case of a sudden defense of our Frontier."

 

 

Betty Washington Lewis
Oil on canvas
Attributed to John Wollaston
Fredericksburg, Virginia
ca. 1755-1757
Image courtesy of
Mount Vernon
Ladies' Association
Betty Washington, George Washington's sister, married Fielding Lewis on May 7, 1750. According to George Washington Parke Custis (the grandson of Martha Washington), Betty Lewis was . . .

"a majestic-looking woman, and so strikingly like the brother [George Washington], that it was a matter of frolic to throw a cloak around her, and placing a military hat on her head, such was her amazing resemblance, that on her appearance, battalions would have presented arms and senates rise to do homage to the chief…."

Trained in England, John Wollaston was an itinerant portrait painter, working in Virginia from 1755 to1757. Though few of his works are signed, the almond shaped eyes, elongated neck, high forehead, and distinctive hands are features that make these paintings easily attributable to Wollaston. While in Virginia, he painted more than sixty portraits, including these images of Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis.