[photograph of a portrait of Priscilla Dorsey Ridgely]

Priscilla Dorsey Ridgely (1762-1814)

MSA SC 1545-1209. c. 1790, attributed to Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860); also attributed to Joseph Wright (1765-1793) Purchased by Joseph Katz in 1951 and presented to Mrs. Theodore McKeldin, who gave portrait to the state.

Priscilla Dorsey Ridgely was the wife of Charles Ridgely of Hampton (1760-1829), the fifteenth governor of Maryland, serving in office from 1816-1819. She was born at "Belmont" her family's estate in Anne Arundel County, (now Howard) where she spent her childhood. After her marriage on October 17, 1782, Mrs. Ridgely lived at "Hampton," the post-Revolutionary War mansion in Baltimore County built by her husband's uncle, Captain Charles Ridgely. Part of the Hampton National Historic Site, the Ridgely home is now open to the public as a museum. Priscilla and Charles Ridgely had three sons and eight daughters. She died prior to her husband's term in the Governor's office.

A devout Methodist, Mrs. Ridgely often held prayer meetings at "Hampton." Her simple attire in this portrait may also be a reflection of her religious faith.

Rembrandt Peale, son of Charles Willson Peale, was an accomplished portraitist and painted prolifically while living in Maryland until 1822. While this portrait was initially attibuted to Peale, later research revealed that it was probably painted by Joseph Wright.

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