Rachel Leeds Kerr


Charles Willson Peale ( American, 1741 - 1827 )

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General Description

Rachel Leeds Kerr represents Peale at the height of his powers in the late 1780s and 1790s. During the economic depression which followed the American Revolution, Peale was forced to travel extensively through Pennsylvania and Maryland in search of commissions. Rachel Leeds Kerr was the wife of Lt. David Kerr, a justice of the peace in Talbot, Maryland, and member of the Maryland House of Delegates. Kerr appears in a fine though simple satin gown and modish headdress, seated in a carved chair at an elegant table. Through the window, the verdant fields and flocks of sheep testify to the Kerrs' prosperity. These symbolic props not only reveal Rachel Leeds Kerr as the wife of a successful planter but also as a woman of gentility and taste. Like all of Charles Wilson Peale's works, this portrait has a linear quality, featuring strongly marked contour lines and a careful delineation of materials.

Adapted from

  • William Keyse Rudolph, DMA Label text, 2006

  • Eleanor Jones Harvey, "Charles Willson Peale, Rachel Leeds Kerr," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press, 1997), 218.

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