Rebecca Dorsey Ridgely

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c 1767
By John Hesselius

The wife of Captain Charles Ridgely (1733-1790), builder of Hampton, Rebecca Dorsey Ridgely (1739-1812) was the daughter of Caleb Dorsey of “Belmont,” an Anne Arundel County iron master. The two were married in 1760, the year Capt. Ridgely with his father and brother John established the Northampton Iron Works.

This portrait and the one of Capt. Ridgely were painted by the noted American artist John Hesselius, who by 1763 was living in Annapolis and painting many portraits of Maryland’s landed gentry. Although fashionably dressed in luxurious clothing for this portrait, Rebecca later became an ardent convert to Methodism, and was a friend and supporter of the earliest Methodist preacher in America, Robert Strawbridge.

Oil on canvas. H 75, W 63.5 cm
Hampton National Historic Site, HAMP 1145