Ellen Peabody Endicott (1833–1927) was a prominent society hostess in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, and later in Washington, DC. Born into an affluent Salem shipping family, in 1859 she married William Crowninshield Endicott (1826–1900), who served on the Supreme Court of Massachusetts and was President Grover Cleveland’s secretary of war from 1885 to 1889. The National Gallery of Art collection also includes Sargent’s portrait of the couple’s daughter, Mary Crowninshield Endicott Chamberlain (1958.2.1).
Combining technical brilliance with an intimate portrait of its subject, Ellen Peabody Endicott exemplifies Sargent’s mannered society portraiture. Mrs. Endicott is shown seated in an upholstered chair beside a small wooden table topped with a book and other personal effects. The crimson curtain backdrop and Mrs. Endicott’s embroidered shawl demonstrate Sargent’s expertise in rendering fabric textures and draping. A heavy black mourning dress hints at a possible reason for the sitter’s melancholy expression: the recent death of her husband.
More information on this painting can be found in the Gallery publication American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part II, which is available as a free PDF https://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/research/publications/pdfs/American%20Paintings%20of%20the%20Nineteenth%20Century%20Part%20II.pdf
upper right: John S. Sargent 1901
The sitter's son, William C. Endicott, Jr. [1860-1936], Boston; his wife, Louise Thoron Endicott, Boston; gift 1951 to NGA.
- 134th Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1902, no. 148.
- Second Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art, The Copley Society of Boston, Copley Hall, Boston, 1902, no. 95.
- Loan Exhibition of Portraits by Living Painters, The Copley Society of Boston, Copley Hall, Boston, 1914, no. 16.
- Opening Exhibition of the Robert Dawson Evans Memorial Galleries for Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1915, unnumbered checklist (published as Special Number, Museum of Fine Arts Bulletin, Vol. XIII, No. 75, February 3, 1915).
- Exhibition of Paintings by John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1916, no cat.
- Retrospective Exhibition of Important Works of John Singer Sargent, Grand Central Art Galleries, New York, 1924, no. 12.
- Memorial Exhibition of the Works of the Late John Singer Sargent, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1925, no. 75, repro.
- Memorial Exhibition of the Work of John Singer Sargent, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1926, no. 38.
- Sargent, Whistler and Mary Cassatt, The Art Institute of Chicago; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1954, no. 61, repro.
- A Centennial Exhibition, Sargent's Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956, no. 32, fig. 29.
- Picturing Old New England: Image and Memory, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., 1999, no. 54, repro.
- Downes, William Howe. John S. Sargent: His Life and Work. Boston, 1925: 57, 200-201.
- Charteris, Evan. John Sargent. New York: Scribner's, 1927, p. 268.
- Sweet, Frederick A. Sargent, Whistler and Mary Cassatt. Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1954: 62.
- McKibbin, David. Sargent's Boston. Exh. cat. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956: 47, 94.
- Mount, Charles Merrill. John Singer Sargent: A Biography. Rev. ed. (originally published 1955).New York, 1969: 240, 437.
- American Paintings and Sculpture: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1970: 96, repro.
- Ormond, Richard. John Singer Sargent: Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors. New York, 1970: 66, 250, 253, pl. 85.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1980: 218, repro.
- Wilmerding, John. American Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980: 16
- Williams, William James. A Heritage of American Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1981: 145-6, color repro.157.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 568, no. 866, color repro.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 331, repro.
- Ormond, Richard, and Elaine Kilmurray. John Singer Sargent: The Later Portraits. The Complete Paintings, Volume III. New Haven and London, 2003: no. 400, repro.
- Torchia, Robert Wilson, with Deborah Chotner and Ellen G. Miles. American Paintings of the Nineteenth Century, Part II. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1998: 113-115, color repro.