Eliza Eichelberger Ridgely

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c. 1950 (after 1818 original)
By C. G. Stapko (after Thomas Sully)

In 1828, John Ridgely married his second wife, Eliza Eichelberger Ridgely (1803-1867), daughter of Nicholas Greenbury Ridgely (1770-1829), a prominent and prosperous Baltimore merchant. Although the two believed they were distant cousins, no common descent for the two Ridgely families has been unquestionably established. Considered “one of the loveliest & most accomplished women ever raised in the city of Baltimore,” Eliza was well educated by the standards of the day, fluent in French and Italian, and an international traveler with sophisticated taste. She was particularly renowned as a horticulturalist and made numerous improvements to the gardens and grounds of Hampton. Her famous portrait at age 15 by Thomas Sully (1783-1872), "Lady with a Harp," also reflects her musical talents. The sale of the original painting to National Gallery of Art led to the preservation of Hampton and its gift to the National Park Service in 1948.

Oil on canvas. H 214.7, W 134 cm                      
Hampton National Historic Site, HAMP 1190