Ralph Wormeley V, c. 1755-57
This charming portrait of the ten-year-old heir to the Wormeley family estate is one of the more appealing of the portraits of children painted in colonial Virginia. Not only is the boy's elegant velvet jacket painted with John Wollaston's characteristic attention to the texture and detail of costume, but young Wormeley also displays a mixture of maturity and adolescent innocence that probably was characteristic of this sitter. In contrast to much of the imagery of children produced in this era, the figure seems neither rigid nor inanimate. Even natural in appearance is the boy's use of his stylish hat as a basket for gathered peaches, which offer yet another texture and color for the viewer's delight.