Portrait of Rachel Donelson Jackson
in the
Pittsylvania County Courthouse

By Henry H. Mitchell, 2006.

Rachel Donelson Jackson

This portrait of Rachel Donelson Jackson, who was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, hangs in the Pittsylvania County Courthouse. It was commissioned by the Thomas Carter Chapter D.A.R. of Pittsylvania County and the Dorothea Henry Chapter D.A.R. of Danville, and was painted by Alexander von Jost of Richmond. The portrait was presented on May 13, 1944.

James G. Barber's 1991 book Andrew Jackson: A Portrait Study contains a detailed history of likenesses of Rachel Donelson Jackson. Artist Ralph E. W. Earl painted similar portraits of Rachel around 1825, 1827 (Rachel died in 1828), and 1831, all of which are now at the Jacksons' Tennessee home, The Hermitage. (See an example from among this Hermitage portrait collection.) These early Earl images of Rachel Jackson are almost certainly the basis for this Pittsylvania Courthouse painting.



White House Portrait: Rachel Donelson Jackson

White House portrait of Rachel Donelson Jackson, by Howard Chandler Christy, 1941.


In the 1940's a rendition by acclaimed portraitist and illustrator Howard Chandler Christy showing a more youthful and beautiful Rachel was painted for the White House, and remains there today. It was also based to some extent on the Ralph E. W. Earl images. However, James Barber (see above) commented that the portrayal is more that of movie star Norma Shearer than of Rachel Jackson.


Notes


Related Books

(Available from the sponsor.)

History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia

Clement: History of Pittsylvania County, Virginia

Eighteenth Century Landmarks of Pittsylvania County, VA

Hurt: Eighteenth Century Landmarks of Pittsylvania County

Pittsylvania: Homes and People of the Past

Fitzgerald: Pittsylvania: Homes and People of the Past



This webpage is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.