Copley_Mary_and_Elizabeth

Thanks to a coalition of supporters — The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Medford Arts Council, a generous private foundation that wishes to remain anonymous, and Stanhope Framers — a high-quality replica of John Singleton Copley’s portrait of “Mary and Elizabeth Royall” is now on display in the Royall House.

The MFA catalog says the portrait “was designed to show off the family’s wealth and social status: the girls are dressed in expensive silk gowns trimmed with imported lace, and the velvet drape behind them was intended to bring to mind portraits of English aristocrats who had themselves painted in such a setting. Even the pets in the picture conveyed status: the King Charles spaniel was a favorite of British royalty, and the hummingbird perched on Mary’s finger may have been imported from the West Indies, where Royall conducted profitable trade.”