Mrs John Freake and Baby Mary

Paula Petrik, Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University



Review the following image; all 3 versions available.


  1. What are the most obvious differences between the drawing adapted from the x-ray radiograph and existing portrait? Superimposition of the two images might help you sort out the differences.
  2. Why do you think that Mary Freake wanted her portrait repainted?
  3. What can you infer about the development of American family life from the portrait?
  4. How is the portrait different from the stereotypical depictions of New England Puritans and Puritan life like:
    1. this detail from Augusta Bascombe’s Puritan Thanksgiving.
    2. or another detail from a 19th-century engraving Puritans Going to Church.

Updated | April 2004