Letitia Morehead Walker
Letitia was the eldest daughter of Gov. and Mrs. Morehead. She had three children with William Walker, before his untimely death in 1855. She then moved back to Blandwood with her children, while still running their home estate for a few years on her own. Browne painted this portrait of Letitia in 1869, soon after both of her parents had passed away. It is much more stylized than Gov. and Mrs. Morehead’s portraits, which seems to represent Letitia’s more gregarious personality. The background of this portrait is reminiscent of the Grand Manner style, with its dramatic landscape and Classical architecture.
The portrait’s colorful and exaggerated style reflects the outgoing nature of its subject. This is notable, because, as a widow, Letitia faced many hardships. But it is clear in this portrait that she possessed a confidence that allowed her to grapple with those hardships and continue to live a sociable life. She was educated and used that education in many ways. As stated above, she continued to run her husband’s estate after his death, and she was also a devoted member of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, working as its Vice-Regent for North Carolina. Browne seems to capture this steadfastness, by portraying her in this style that captures her strength and determination.
Detail of Leticia’s Portrait