Eustis Estate

Sally Sayward Barrell (1738-1805)

Joseph Blackburn (d. after 1778)
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 1761
Oil on canvas
55 7/16 x 48 7/16 in.
Gift of the heirs of Elizabeth Cheever Wheeler, the sitter’s great-granddaughter

In 1761 Sally Sayward Barrell was living in her parents’ home in what is now York, Maine, while her husband was on a three-year business trip to England. The portrait shows her as a woman of leisure and insofar as that was true, her leisure may have been supported by enslaved servants who worked around the house. We don’t know who else was living with the Saywards at the time, but we do know that fifteen years later Sally’s father owned at least two men of African descent, Prince and Cato. We know little about them, although our research continues.

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