Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sarah, wife of Joseph Story by Gilbert Stuart

Mrs. Joseph Story by Gilbert Stuart 1819

In the post before this the social, cultural impact of Sarah's husband Joseph (a justice on the United States Supreme Court) on the development of our Republic was described. Not as much is known about his second wife Sarah, who most likely fulfilled her appropriate duties as a wife and mother. In the portrait above she would be age 35. As Joseph's portrait was also done in 1819, it can be presumed they were commissioned at the same time by Joseph, who was then about 40.
From Lawrence Park:
Mrs. Joseph Story

Sarah Waldo Wetmore was a daughter of Judge William Wetmore and Sarah (Waldo) Wetmore, both of Salem, Massachusetts. In 1808 she married, in the North Church, Boston, Joseph Story as his second wife.

Boston, 1819. Panel, 32 ¾ x 25 ¾ inches. She is shown at half-length, seated, turned half-way to the right, with her light brown eyes directed to the spectator. Her chestnut hair in curls over brow and temples is in a knot held by a jeweled comb. She has a lovely brow, a long nose, lips almost verging on a smile, a calm dignity and much charm. Her low-necked dress is of a sheer material trimmed with a lace collar and a narrow belt of turquoise-blue ribbon. A red camel’s hair shawl is draped in such a manner as to cover her left arm and shoulder and, passing at the back, is seen partially covering her right arm with a part of the border hanging over the arm of the chair. Her right hand is in her lap. The plain background is lighter at the right.

Story's first wife, Mary Oliver, died in June 1805, shortly after their marriage. Sarah and Joseph had seven children, though only two, Mary and William Wetmore Story, survived to adulthood. Their son became a noted poet and sculptor, his bust of his father is in the entrance to the Harvard Law School Library.

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