Lady with Her Pets (Molly Wales Fobes)
- Rufus Hathaway (1770–1822)
- Oil on canvas
- 34 1/4 x 32 in. (86.6 x 81.3 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1963
- Accession Number:
Born in Massachusetts, Hathaway worked as an itinerant portrait painter before pursuing a career in medicine. "Lady with Her Pets" is his earliest known work and depicts Molly Wales Fobes of Raynham, Massachusetts. Fashionably dressed, Molly sits in a Chippendale-style chair surrounded by a fantastical array of “pets,” which were likely included as emblems of her beauty, loyalty, and affection. They may also reference her family’s interest in natural history, as her father was a professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy. The flowers decorating her fan and bodice, combined with her French-inspired hairstyle, identify Molly as a refined and worldly woman.