Mrs. Shurlock is the mother of Robert Shurlock, the artist's son-in-law. She was painted by Russell in 1801, around the time he made portraits of his daughter Henrietta and her husband (67.131
). The elder Mrs. Shurlock is pictured here taking snuff from a small, decorated snuff-box. The ribbon on her bonnet and the sheen of her shawl give Russell the occasion to display his skill with the pastel medium. Her skin tones are much more smoothly applied, although up close it is still possible to pick out the different pastel colors (yellow, blue, peach) that Russell used. Unusually, Russell gives some suggestion of a domestic interior in this portrait: Mrs. Shurlock sits in a chair with red upholstery and some architectural detail is visible at upper left.
[Francesca Whitlum-Cooper 2010]