William Randolph II of Turkey Island, 1755
This painting is rendered in a manner far removed from John Wollaston's usual style. Though the artist was able to give vivid enough color to the sitter's face, he poorly modulated the flesh tones. Wollaston was commissioned by the builder of Wilton to produce a portrait of his late father, William Randolph II (1681–1742), presumably from an image painted earlier.
A successful career in the law is surely the activity alluded to by the inclusion in this canvas of what is probably a legal document that Randolph reads. It is an interesting addition because the portraits of most Virginia gentlemen depict idle hands, in contrast to images of northern merchants proud of their industrious activity as businessmen. The prop points as well to a social difference between two generations of Virginians—one earned wealth and the other inherited it.